or ARS AMATORIA
❮ Poetry & Prose ❮ Books / People
— By Ovid
[As it is written in a lovely way] Literally Translated into English Prose, with Copious Notes by Henry T. Riley, 1885.
BOOK THE FIRST.
BOOK THE SECOND.
BOOK THE THIRD.
FOOTNOTES BOOK ONE
FOOTNOTES BOOK TWO
FOOTNOTES OF BOOK THE THIRD
Should any one of the people not know the art of loving, let him read me; and taught by me, on reading my lines, let him love. By art the ships are onward sped by sails and oars; by art are the light chariots, by art is Love, to be guided. In the chariot and in the flowing reins was Automedon skilled: in the Hæmonian ship of Jason Tiphys was the pilot. Me, too, skilled in my craft, has Venus made the guardian of Love. Of Cupid the Tiphys and the Automedon shall I be styled. Unruly indeed he is, and one who oft rebels against me; but he is a child; his age is tender and easy to be governed. The son of Phillyra made the boy Achilles skilled at the lyre; and with his soothing art he subdued his ferocious disposition. He who so oft alarmed his own companions, so oft the foe, is believed to have stood in dread of an aged man full of years. Those hands which Hector was doomed to feel, at the request of his master he held out for stripes 701 as commanded. Chiron was the preceptor of the grandson of Æacus, I of Love. Both of the boys were wild; both of a Goddess born. But yet the neck of even the bull is laden with the plough; and the reins are champed by the teeth of the spirited steed. To me, too, will Love yield; though, with his bow, he should wound my breast, and should brandish his torches hurled against me. The more that Love has pierced me, the more has he relentlessly inflamed me; so much the fitter avenger shall I be of the wounds so made.
Phoebus, I pretend not that these arts were bestowed on me by thee; nor by the notes of the birds of the air am I inspired. Neither Clio nor the sisters of Clio have been beheld by me, while watching, Ascra, in thy vales, my flocks. To this work experience gives rise; listen to a Poet well-versed. The truth will I sing; Mother of Love, favour my design. Be ye afar, 702 ye with the thin fillets on your hair, the mark of chastity; and thou, long flounce, which dost conceal the middle of the foot. We will sing of guiltless delights, and of thefts allowed; and in my song there shall be nought that is criminal.
In the first place, endeavour to find out an object which you may desire to love, you who are now coming for the first time to engage as a soldier in a new service. The next task after that, is to prevail on the fair by pleasing her. The third is, for her love to prove of long duration. This is my plan; this space shall be marked out by my chariot; this the turning-place to be grazed by my wheels in their full career.
While you may, and while you are able to proceed with flowing reins; choose one to whom you may say, “You alone are pleasing to me.” She will not come to you gliding through the yielding air; the fair one that suits must be sought with your eyes. The hunter knows full well where to extend the toils for the deer; full well he knows in what vale dwells the boar gnashing with his teeth. The shrubberies are known to the fowlers. He who holds out the hooks, knows what waters are swam in by many a fish. You, too, who seek a subject for enduring love, first learn in what spot the fair are to be met with. In your search, I will not bid you give your sails to the wind, nor is a long path to be trodden by you, that you may find her.
Let Perseus bear away his Andromeda from the tawny Indians, 703 and let the Grecian fair be ravished by Paris, the Phrygian hero. Rome will present you damsels as many, and full as fair; so that you will declare, that whatever has been on the earth, she possesses. As many ears of corn as Gargara has, as many clusters as Methymna; as many fishes as are concealed in the seas, birds in the boughs; as many stars as 704 heaven has, so many fair ones does your own Rome contain; and in her own City does the mother of Æneas hold her reign. Are you charmed by early and still dawning years, the maiden in all her genuineness will come before your eyes; or do you wish a riper fair, 705 a thousand riper will please you; you will be forced not to know which is your own choice. Or does an age mature and more staid delight you; this throng too, believe me, will be even greater.
Do you only saunter at your leisure in the shade of Pompey’s Portico, 706
when the sun approaches the back of the Lion of Hercules; 707
or where the mother 708 has added her own gifts to
those of her son, a work rich in its foreign marble. And let not the
Portico of Livia 709 be shunned by you, which, here
and there adorned with ancient paintings, bears the name of its founder.
Where, too, are the grand-daughters of Be-lus, 710 who
dared to plot death for their wretched cousins, and where their enraged
father stands with his drawn sword. Nor let Adonis, bewailed by Venus, 711
escape you; and the seventh holy-day observed by the Jew of Syria. 712
Nor fly from the Memphian temples of Isis the linen-wearing heifer; she
has made many a woman 713 that which she was herself to
Jove. Even the Courts, (who would have believed it?) are favourable to
Love; and oft in the noisy Forum has the flame been found. Where the
erection 714 of Appius, 715
adjoining the temple of Venus, built of marble, beats the air with its
shooting stream; 716 in that spot full oft is the
pleader seized by Love; and he that has defended others, the same does not
defend himself. Oft in that spot are their words found wanting to the
eloquent man; and new cares arise, and his own cause has to be pleaded.
From her temple, which is adjoining, 717 Venus
laughs at him. He who so lately was a patron, now wishes to become a
But especially at the curving Theatres do you hunt for prey: these places
are even yet more fruitful for your desires. There you will find what you
may love, what you may trifle with, both what you may once touch, and what
you may wish to keep. As the numberless ants come and go in lengthened
train, when they are carrying their wonted food in the mouth that bears
the grains; or as the bees, when they have found both their own pastures
and the balmy meads, hover around the flowers and the tops of the thyme;
so rush the best-dressed women to the thronged spectacles; a multitude
that oft has kept my judgment in suspense. They come to see, they come
that they themselves may be seen; to modest chastity these spots are
Romulus, ’twas thou didst first institute the exciting games; at the time
when the ravished Sabine fair 718 came to
the aid of the solitary men. Then, neither did curtains 719
hang over the marble theatre, 720 nor was
the stage 721 blushing with liquid saffron.
There, the branches were simply arranged which the woody Palatium bore;
the scene was void of art. On the steps made of turf sit the people; the
branches promiscuously overshadowing their shaggy locks. They look about
them, and they mark with their eyes, each for himself, the damsel which to
choose; and in their silent minds they devise full many a plan. And while,
as the Etrurian piper sends forth his harsh notes, the actor with his foot
thrice beats the levelled ground; in the midst of the applause, (in those
days applause was void of guile,) the King gives to his people the signal
to be awaited for the spoil. At once, they start up, and, disclosing their
intentions with a shout, lay their greedy hands upon the maidens. 722
As the doves, a startled throng, fly from the eagles, and as the young
Iamb flies from the wolves when seen; in such manner do they dread the men
indiscriminately rushing on; the complexion remains in none, which existed
there before. For their fear is the same; the symptoms of their fear not
the same. Some tear their hair; some sit without consciousness; one is
silent in her grief; another vainly calls upon her mother; this one
laments; this one is astounded; this one tarries; that one takes to
flight. The ravished fair ones are carried off, a matrimonial spoil; and
shame itself may have been becoming to many a one. If one struggled
excessively, and repelled her companion; borne off, the man himself lifted
her into his eager bosom. And thus he spoke: “Why spoil your charming eyes
with tears? What to your mother your father was, the same will I be to
you.” Romulus, ’twas thou alone didst understand how to give rewards to
thy soldiers. Give such a reward to me, and I will be a soldier. In good
truth, from that transaction, the festive Theatres, even to this day,
continue to be treacherous to the handsome.
And let not the contest of the noble steeds escape you; the roomy Circus
of the people has many advantages. There is no need there of fingers, with
which to talk over your secrets; nor must a hint be taken by you through
nods. Be seated next to your mistress, there being no one to prevent it;
press your side to her side as close as ever you can; and conveniently
enough, because the partition 723 compels
you to sit close, even if she be unwilling; and because, by the custom of
the place, the fair one must be touched by you. Here let the occasion be
sought by you for some friendly chat, and let the usual subjects 724
lead to the first words. Take care, and enquire, with an air of Anxiety,
whose horses those are, coming; and without delay, whoever it is to whom
she wishes well, to him do you also wish well. But when the thronged
procession shall walk with the holy statues of ivory, 725
do you applaud your mistress Venus with zealous hand. And, as often
happens, if perchance a little dust should fall on the bosom of the fair,
it must be brushed off with your fingers 726 and if
there should be no dust, still brush off that none; let any excuse be a
prelude to your attentions. If her mantle, hanging too low, shall be
trailing on the earth, gather it up, and carefully raise it from the dirty
At once, as the reward of your attention, the fair permitting it, her
ancles will chance to be seen by your eyes. Look, too, behind, who shall
be sitting behind you, that he may not press her tender back with his knee
against it. 728 Trifles attract trifling
minds. It has proved to the advantage of many a one, to make a cushion
with his ready hand. 729 It has been of use, too, to
waft a breeze with the graceful fan, and to place the hollow footstool
beneath her delicate feet. Both the Circus, and the sand spread for its
sad duties 730 in the bustling Forum, will
afford these overtures to a dawning passion. On that sand, oft has the son
of Venus fought; and he who has come to be a spectator of wounds, himself
receives a wound. 731 While he is talking, and is
touching her hand, and is asking for the racing list; 732
and, having deposited the stake, 733 is
enquiring which has conquered, wounded, he sighs, and feels the flying
dart, and, himself, becomes a portion of the spectacle so viewed.
Besides; when, of late, 734 Cæsar, on the representation
of a rival fight, introduced 735 the Persian and Athenian
ships; in truth, from both seas came youths, from both came the fair; and
in the City was the whole of the great world. Who, in that throng, did not
find an object for him to love? How many, alas! did a foreign flame
torment? See! Cæsar prepares 736 to add what was wanting to the
world subdued; now, remote East, our own shalt thou be! Parthian, thou
shalt give satisfaction; entombed Crassi, rejoice; 737 ye
standards, too, that disgracefully submitted to barbarian hands. Your
avenger is at hand, and proves himself a general in his earliest years;
and, while a boy, is conducting a war not fitted to be waged by a boy.
Cease, in your fears, to count the birth-days of the Gods: 738
valour is the lot of the Cæsars, in advance of their years. The divine
genius rises more rapidly than its years, and brooks not the evils of slow
delay. The Tirynthian hero was a baby, and he crushed two serpents in his
hands; even in his cradle he was already worthy of Jove. Bacchus, who even
now art a boy, how mighty wast thou then, when conquered India dreaded thy
thyrsi! With the auspices and the courage of thy sire, thou, Youth, shalt
wield arms; and with the courage and the auspices of thy sire shalt thou
conquer. Such first lessons are thy due, under a name so great; now the
first of the youths, 739 at a future day to be the
first of the men. Since thou hast brothers, 740 avenge
thy brethren slain; and since thou hast a sire, 741
vindicate the rights of thy sire. He, the father of thy country and thine
own, hath put thee in arms; the enemy is tearing realms away from thy
reluctant sire. Thou wilt wield the weapons of duty, the foe arrows
accursed; before thy standard, Justice and Duty will take their post. By
the badness of their cause, the Parthians are conquered; in arms, too, may
they be overcome; may my hero add to Latium the wealth of the East. Both
thou, father Mars, and thou, father Cæsar, grant your divine favour as he
sets out; for the one of you is now a Deity, thou, the other, wilt so be.
What, Parthian, dost thou leave to the conquered, who dost fly that thou
mayst overcome? Parthian, even now has thy mode of warfare an unhappy
omen. And will that day then come, on which thou, the most graceful of all
objects, glittering with gold, shalt go, drawn by the four snow-white
steeds? Before thee shall walk the chiefs, their necks laden with chains;
that they may no longer, as formerly, be secure in flight. The joyous
youths, and the mingled fair, shall be looking on; and that day shall
gladden the minds of all. And when some one of the fair shall enquire the
names of the Monarchs, what places, what mountains, or what rivers are
borne in the procession; answer to it all; and not only if she shall make
any inquiry; even what you know not, relate, as though known perfectly
This is the Euphrates, 742 with his forehead encircled
with reeds; the one whose 743 azure hair is streaming down,
will be the Tigris. Make these to be the Armenians; this is Persia, sprung
from Danaë; 744 that was a city in the vales
of Achæ-menes. This one or that will be the leaders; and there will be
names for you to call them by; correctly, if you can; if not, still by
such as suggest themselves.
Banquets, too, with the tables arranged, afford an introduction; there is
something there besides wine for you to look for. Full oft does blushing
Cupid, with his delicate arms, press the soothed horns of Bacchus there
present. And when the wine has besprinkled the soaking wings of Cupid,
there he remains and stands overpowered on the spot of his capture. He,
indeed, quickly flaps his moistened wings; but still it is fatal 745
for the breast to be sprinkled by Love. Wine composes to choose an object
for you to love, where to lay your nets. Now, I attempt to teach you, by
what arts she must be captured who has pleased you, a work of especial
skill. Ye men, whoever you are, and in every spot, give attention eager to
be informed; and give, all people, a favourable ear to the realization of
my promises. First of all, let a confidence enter your mind, that all
women may be won; you will win them; do you only lay your toils. Sooner
would the birds be silent in spring, the grasshoppers in summer, sooner
would the Mænalian dog turn its back upon the hare, than the fair,
attentively courted, would resist the youth. She, however, will wish you
to believe, so far as you can, that she is reluctant.
Lo! I utter a prophecy; thou wilt conquer, and I shall offer the lines
which I have vowed; and with a loud voice wilt thou have to be celebrated
by me. Thou wilt there he taking thy stand, and in my words thou wilt be
animating thy troops. O that my words may not prove unworthy of thy
spirit! I will celebrate both the backs of the Parthians as they fly, and
the valour of the Romans, and the darts and the feelings, and makes them
ready to be inflamed; care flies, and is drenched with plenteous wine.
Then come smiles; then the poor man resumes his confidence then grief and
cares and the wrinkles of the forehead depart. Then candour, most uncommon
in our age, reveals the feelings, the God expelling all guile. On
such occasions, full oft have the fair captivated the hearts of the
youths; and Venus amid wine, has proved flames in flame. Here do not you
trust too much to the deceiving lamp; 746 both
night and wine are unsuited to a judgment upon beauty. In daylight, and
under a clear sky, did Paris view the Goddesses, when he said to Venus:
“Thou, Venus, dost excel them both.” By night, blemishes are concealed,
and pardon is granted to every imperfection; and that hour renders every
woman beauteous. Consult the daylight about jewels, about wool steeped in
purple; consult the daylight about the figure and the proportion.
Why enumerate the resorts of fair ones suited for your search? The sands
would yield to my number. Why mention Baiæ, 747 and the
shores covered with sails, and the waters which send forth the smoke from
the warm sulphur? Many a one carrying thence a wound in his breast, has
exclaimed; “This water was not so wholesome as it was said to be.” See,
too, the temple in the grove of suburban Diana, and the realms acquired
with the sword by hostile hand. 748 Because
she is a virgin, because she hates the darts of Cupid, she has given many
a wound to the public, and will give many still.
Thus far, Thalia borne upon unequal wheels, 749 teaches
where the foeman hurls from his flying steed.
As stealthy courtship is pleasing to the man, so, too, is it to the fair.
The man but unsuccessfully conceals his passion; with more concealment
does she desire. Were it agreed among the males not to be the first to
entreat any female, the conquered fair would soon act the part of the
suppliant. In the balmy meads, the female lows after the bull; the female
is always neighing after the horny-hoofed horse. Passion in us is more
enduring, and not so violent; among men the flame has reasonable bounds.
Why mention Byblis, who burned with a forbidden passion for her brother,
and who resolutely atoned with the halter for her crimes? Myrrha loved her
father, but not as a daughter ought; and she now lies hid, overwhelmed by
the bark 750 that grew over her. With her
tears too, which she distils from the odoriferous tree, are we perfumed;
and the drops still retain the name of their mistress.
By chance, in the shady vales of the woody Ida, there was a white hull,
the glory of the herd, marked with a little black in the middle between
his horns; there was but one spot; the rest was of the complexion of milk.
The heifers of Gnossus and of Cydon 751 sighed
to mate with him. Pasiphaë delighted to become the paramour of the bull;
in her jealousy she hated the beauteous cows. I sing of facts well known:
Crete, which contains its hundred cities, untruthful as it is, 752
cannot gainsay them. She herself is said to have cut down fresh leaves and
the tenderest grass with hand unused to such employment.
She goes as the companion of the herds; so going, no regard for her
husband restrains her; and by a bull 753 is
Minos conquered. “Of what use, Pasiphaë, is it to put on those costly
garments? This love of thine understands nothing about wealth. What hast
thou to do with a mirror, when accompanying the herds of the mountain?
Why, foolish one, art thou so often arranging thy smoothed locks? Still,
do thou believe that mirror, that denies that thou art a heifer. How much
couldst thou wish for horns to spring up upon thy forehead! If Minos still
pleases thee, let no paramour be sought; but if thou wouldst rather
deceive thy husband, deceive him through a being that is human.”
Her chamber abandoned, the queen is borne over the groves and the forests,
just as a Bacchanal impelled by the Aonian God. Alas! how oft with jealous
look does she eye a cow, and say, “Why is she thus pleasing to my love?
See how she skips before him on the tender grass! I make no doubt that the
fool thinks that it is becoming to her.” Thus she spoke, and at once
ordered her to be withdrawn from the vast herd, and, in her innocence, to
be dragged beneath the bending yoke; or else she forced her to fall before
the altars, and rites feigned for the purpose; and, with joyous hand, she
held the entrails of her rival. How often did she propitiate the Deities
with her slain rivals, and say, as she held the entrails, “Now go and
charm my love!” And sometimes she begged that she might become Europa,
sometimes Io; because the one was a cow, the other borne upon a bull.
Still, deceived by a cow made of maple-wood, the leader of the herd
impregnated her; and by the offspring was the sire 754
If the Cretan dame 755 had withheld from love for
Thyestes (alas! how hard it is for a woman possibly to be pleasing to one
man only!) Phoebus would not have interrupted his career in the midst,
and, his chariot turned back, retreated, with his returning steeds, to the
morn. The daughter, who spoiled 756 Nisus
of his purple locks, presses beneath her thigh and groin the raving dogs.
The son of Atreus, who escaped from Mars by land, and Neptune on the
waves, was the mournful victim of his wife. By whom have not been lamented
the flames 757 of the Ephyrean Creusa? Medea,
the parent, too, stained with the blood of her children? Phoenix, the son
of Amyntor, 758 wept with his blinded eyes;
you, startled steeds, tore Hippolytus in pieces. Why, Phineus, dost thou
tear out the eyes of thy guiltless sons? 759 That
punishment will revert to thy own head.
All these things have been caused by the passion of females. It is more
violent than ours, and has more frenzy in it. Come then, and doubt
not that you can conquer all the fair: out of so many, there will be
hardly one to deny you. What they yield, and what they refuse, still are
they glad to be asked for. Even if you are deceived, your repulse is
without danger. But why should you be deceived, since new pleasures are
delightful, and since what is strange attracts the feelings more than what
is one’s own? 760 The crop 761
of corn is always more fertile in the fields of other people; and the
herds of our neighbours have their udders more distended.
But first, be it your care to make acquaintance with the handmaid of the
fair one to be courted; she can render your access easy. 762
Take care that she is deep in the secrets of her mistress, and not too
little entrusted with her secret frolics. Her do you bribe with promises,
her with entreaties; you will obtain what you ask with little trouble, if
she shall be willing. Let her choose the time (physicians, even, watch
their time) when the feelings of her mistress are pliant, and easy to be
influenced. Then will her feelings be easily influenced, when, in the best
humour in the world, she shall be smiling, just as the corn on the rich
soil. While hearts are joyous, and not closed by sadness, then are
they assailable; then with soothing arts does Venus steal on apace. At the
time when Troy was in sorrow, she was defended by arms; when joyous, she
admitted the horse pregnant with its soldiers. Then, too, must she be
assailed, when she shall be fretting on being offended by a rival; then
effect it by your means that she go not unrevenged. Let her handmaid, as
she combs her hair in the morning, urge her on; and to the sail let her
add the resources of the oar. And, sighing to herself, let her say, in
gentle murmurs: “In my idea, you yourself cannot pay him in return.” 763
Then let her talk about you; then let her add persuasive expressions; and
let her swear that you are perishing with frantic passion. But speed on,
let not the sails fall, and the breezes lull: like brittle ice, anger
disappears in lapse of time.
You inquire if it is of use 764 to win the handmaid herself?
In such attempts there is a great risk. This one becomes more
zealous after an intrigue; that one more tardy; the one procures you as a
gift for her mistress, the other for her own self. The result is doubtful;
although she should favour your advances, still it is my advice, to
refrain from so doing. I shall not go over headlong tracks, and
over sharp crags; and, under my guidance, no youth shall be deceived. Even
if she pleases you, while she gives and receives the letters, by her
person, and not only by her zealousness alone; take care and gain her
mistress first; let the other follow as her companion; your courtship must
not be commenced with a servant-maid. This one thing I advise you (if you
only put some trust in my skill, and if the boisterous wind does not bear
my words over the seas): either do not attempt, or else do you persist;
the informer is removed, when once she herself has shared in the
criminality. The bird does not easily escape when its wings are
bird-limed; the boar does not readily get away from the loose nets: the
wounded fish can be held by the hook it has seized. Once tried, press her
hard, and do not retreat, but as the conqueror. Then, guilty of a fault
that is common to you both, she will not betray you; and the sayings and
doings of her mistress will be well known to you. But let this be well
concealed; if your informant shall be well concealed, your mistress will
ever be under your eye.
He is mistaken who supposes that time is the object of those only who till
the fields, and is to be observed by mariners alone. Neither must the corn
be always trusted to the treacherous soil; nor the hollow ships at all
times to the green waves; nor is it safe to be ever angling for the
charming fair. The same thing may often be better done when an opportunity
offers. Whether it is her birthday 765 that
comes, or whether the Calends, 766 which
Venus delights to have as the successor of the month of Mars; or whether
the Circus shall be adorned, not with statues, as it was before, but shall
be containing the wealth of kings 767 exposed
to view; delay your project; then the storm is boisterous, then the
Pleiades prevail; 768 then, the tender Kid is
sinking in the ocean wave. Then, ’tis well to desist; then, if one trusts
the deep, with difficulty he grasps the shipwrecked fragments of his
dismantled bark. You may make a beginning on the day on which tearful
was stained with the blood of the Latian wounds; on the day, too, when the
festival recurs, observed each seventh day by the Syrian of Palestine, a
day not suited for 770 the transaction of business.
Great must be 771 your dread of the birthday of
your mistress, and unlucky be that day on which any present must be made.
Though you should cleverly avoid her, still she will spoil you; a woman
finds contrivances, by means of which to plunder the riches of the eager
lover. The loosely-clad pedlar 772 will be
coming to your mistress, so fond of buying, and while you are by, will be
exposing his wares. She wills ask you to examine them, only that you may
appear to be knowing; then she will give you a kiss, and then entreat you
to purchase. She will swear that she will be content with this for many a
year; she will say that now she has need of it, now it may be bought a
bargain. If you shall make the excuse that you have not the money at home
to give; a promissory note 773 will be asked for; it would
then profit you not to have learned 774 to
write. Besides, too; when she asks for a present, as though for the
birth-day cake, 775 and is born for her own
pleasure as often as she pleases. And further; when, full of tears, she
laments her pretended loss, and the jewel 776 is
feigned to have fallen from her pierced ear. They ask for many a sum to be
lent them; so lent, they have no inclination to return them. You lose the
whole; and no thanks are there for your loss. Had I ten mouths, with
tongues as many, they would not suffice for me to recount the abominable
contrivances of courtesans.
Let the wax that is poured upon the polished tablets first try the ford;
let the wax first go as the messenger of your feelings. Let it carry your
compliments; and whoever you are, add expressions that feign you to be in
love, and entreaties not a few. Achilles, moved with his entreaties,
granted Hector to Priam; an angered Divinity is moved by the voice of
entreaty. Take care to make promises: for what harm is there in promising?
Any person whatever can be rich in promises. Hope, if she is only once
cherished, holds out for a long time; she is, indeed, a deceitful Goddess,
but still a convenient one. Should you give her 777
anything, you may for that reason be abandoned by her: she will bear off
the gift by-gone, and will have lost nothing in return. But that which you
have not given, you may always seem as though about to give; thus has the
sterile field full oft deceived its owner. So the gambler, in order that
he may not lose, does not cease to lose; and the alluring dice ever recall
the anxious hand. This is the task, this the labour; to gain her without
even the first present. What she has once given, she will always give,
that she may not have granted to no purpose. Let the letter go then, and
let it be couched in tender expressions; and let it ascertain her
feelings, and be the first to feel its way. A letter borne upon an apple
deceived Cydippe; and by her own words the fair was unconsciously caught.
Youths of Rome, learn, I recommend you, the liberal arts; and not only
that you may defend the trembling accused. Both the public, and the grave
judge, and the silent Senate, as well as the fair, conquered by your
eloquence, shall extend their hands. 779 But let
your power lie concealed: and do not be eloquent at the first. Let your
letters avoid difficult words. Who, but one bereft of sense, would declaim
before a charming mistress? Full oft has a letter proved a powerful cause
for hatred. Let your language be intelligible, and your words the usual
ones; but pleasing, so that you may seem to be speaking in person. Should
she not accept your letter, and send it back unread, hope that she will
read it, and persist in your design. In time the stubborn oxen come
beneath the ploughs: in time the steeds are taught to submit to the
flowing reins: by continued use the ring of iron 780 is
consumed: by being in the ground continually, the crooked plough is worn
out. What is there harder than stone? What more yielding than water? Yet
hard stones are hollowed out by yielding water. Only persist, and in time
you will overcome Penelope herself. You see that Pergamus was taken after
a long time; still, it was taken.
If she reads it, and will not write in answer, do not attempt to compel
her. Do you only make her to be continually reading your flattering lines.
What she has been pleased to read, she will be pleased to answer when
read. All these things will come in their turn, and by degrees.
Perhaps even, at first, a discouraging letter will come to you; and one
that entreats you not to wish to molest her. What she entreats you to
do, she dreads; what she does not entreat you to do, namely, to
persist, she wishes you to do. Press on; and soon you will be the
gainer of your desires. In the meantime, if she shall be carried lying
along upon her couch, do you, as though quite by accident, approach the
litter of your mistress; and that no one may give a mischievous ear to
your words, cunningly conceal, them so far as you can in doubtful signs.
If, with sauntering foot, the spacious Portico is paced by her; here, too,
do you bestow your leisure in her attendance. And sometimes do you take
care to go before; sometimes follow behind; and sometimes be in a hurry,
and sometimes walk leisurely. And be not ashamed to pass from the throng
under some of the columns, 781 or to walk with her, side by
side. And let her not be seated long without you in the curving Theatre;
in her shoulders she will bring something for you to be spectator of. Her
you may gaze upon, her you may admire; much may you say by your brows,
much by your gestures. Clap too, when the actor is dancing 782
in the part of some damsel; and whatever lover is represented, him
applaud. Rise when she rises; sit as long as she is seated; employ your
time at the caprice of your mistress.
But let it not please you to curl your hair with the irons: 783
and rub not your legs with the rough pumice. 784 Bid
those do this, 785 in whose Phrygian notes the
Cybeleian Mother is celebrated by their yells. A neglect of beauty becomes
men, Theseus bore off the daughter of Minos, though his temples were
bedecked by no crisping-pin. Phædra loved Hippolytus, 786
and he was not finely trimmed. Adonis, habituated to the woods, was the
care of a Goddess. But let neatness please you; let your body be bronzed
on the Plain of Mars: 787 let your robe be well-fitting,
and without a spot. Let your tongue, too, not be clammy; 788
your teeth free from yellowness; and let not your foot wallop about,
losing itself in the shoe down at heel. Let not the cutting shockingly
disfigure your hair bolt upright; let your locks, let your beard be
trimmed by a skilful hand. Let your nails, too, not be jagged, and let
them be without dirt; and let no hairs project from the cavities of your
nostrils. And let not the breath of your ill-smelling mouth be offensive;
and let not the husband and the father of the flock 789 offend
the nostrils. The rest, allow the luxurious fair to do; and any man that
perchance disgracefully seeks to attract another.
Lo! Bacchus calls his own Poet: he, too, aids those who love; and he
encourages the flame with which he burns himself. The Gnossian fair was
wandering distractedly on the unknown sands, where little Dia is beaten by
the ocean waves. And, just as she was on awaking from her sleep, 790
clothed in a loose tunic, with bare feet, and having her yellow hair
loose, she was exclaiming to the deaf waves that Theseus was cruel, while
the piteous shower of tears was moistening her tender cheeks. She
exclaimed, and at the same moment she wept; but both became her, nor was
she rendered unsightly by her tears. And now again beating her most
beauteous bosom with her hands, she cried—”That perfidious man has
gone; what will become of me?”
“What will become of me?” she said; when cymbals resounded over all the
shore, and tambourines were beaten with frantic hand. She dropped down
with alarm, and stopped short in her closing words; and no blood was there
in her lifeless body. See! the Mimallonian females, 791 with
their locks flowing on their backs; see! the nimble Satyrs, the throng
preceding the God; sec! Silenus, the drunken old man, 792
on his bending ass, sits there with difficulty, and holds fast by the mane
that he presses. While he follows the Bacchanals, the Bacchanals both fly
and return: while the unskilful rider is goading on his animal with his
stick, slipping from the long-eared ass, he tumbles upon his head. The
Satyrs cry aloud, “Come, rise up; rise, father!” Now, the God, from his
chariot, the top of which he had wreathed with grapes, loosened the golden
reins for the tigers yoked to it. Both her complexion, and Theseus, and
her voice forsook the fair one; and thrice she attempted flight, and
thrice was she detained by fear. She shuddered, just as the barren ears of
corn, which the wind shakes; just as the slender reed quivers in the
To her the Divinity said, “Lo! I come to thee a more constant lover;
damsel of Gnossus, lay aside thy fear, the wife of Bacchus shalt thou be.
Receive heaven as my gift: a conspicuous Constellation in the heavens,
full oft, Cretan Diadem, 793 shalt thou direct the veering
bark.” Thus he said; and he leapt from the chariot, that she might not be
in dread of the tigers; the sand yielded to his foot placed upon it. And
folding her in his bosom he bore her off; for to struggle she was unable:
how easy ’tis for a God to be able to do anything. Some sing “Hymenæus,”
some cry “Evie, Evoë!” 794 Thus are the God and his bride
united in holy wedlock.
Therefore, when the gifts of Bacchus placed before you fall to your lot,
and the fair one shall be a sharer in the convivial couch; pray both to
father Nyctelius, and his nocturnal rites, that they will bid the wine not
to take effect on your head. Here, in secret discourse, you may say to her
many a free word, which she may understand is addressed to her; and you
may trace out short compliments with a little wine, so that she may read
on the table 795 that she is your favorite; and
look on her eyes with eyes that confess your flame; the silent features
often have both words and expression. Take care to be the next to seize
the cup that has been touched by her lips; and drink from the side 796
that the fair drinks from. And whatever food she shall have touched with
her fingers, 797 do you reach for it; and while
you are reaching, her hand may be touched by you. Let it also be your
object to please the husband of the fair; once made a friend, he
will be more serviceable for your designs. If you are drinking by lot, 798
grant him the first turn: let the chaplet, taken from your own head, be
presented to him. Whether he is below you, or whether your neighbour, let
him help Himself to every thing first; and do not hesitate to speak only
after he has spoken. Secure and much frequented is the path, for deceiving
through the name of friendship. Secure and much frequented though that
path be; still it is to be condemned. For this cause ’tis that the
agent attends even too much 799 to his agency, and thinks that
more things ought to be looked after by him than those entrusted to him.
A sure rule for drinking shall be given you by me: let both your mind and
your feet ever observe their duty. Especially avoid quarrels stimulated by
wine, and hands too ready for savage warfare. Eurytion 801
met his death from foolishly quaffing the wine set before him. Banquets
and wine are rather suited for pleasant mirth. If you have a voice, sing;
if pliant arms, dance; and by whatever talent you can amuse, amuse. As
real drunkenness offends, so feigned inebriety will prove of
service. Let your deceiving tongue stutter with lisping accents; so that
whatever you shall do or say with more freedom than usual, it may be
supposed that excess of wine is the cause. And express all good wishes for
your mistress; all good wishes for him who shares her couch; but in your
silent thoughts pray for curses on her husband. But when, the tables
removed, the guests shall be going, (the very crowd will afford you access
and room) mix in the throng: and quietly stealing up 802
to her as she walks, twitch her side with your fingers; and touch her foot
with your foot.
Now is the time come for some conversation: fly afar hence, coy
bashfulness, let Chance and Venus befriend the daring. Let your eloquence
not be subject to any laws of mine; only make a beginning, of your own
accord you will prove fluent. You must act the lover, and wounds must be
feigned in your words. Hence let confidence be sought by you, by means of
any contrivances whatever. And ’tis no hard matter to be believed; each
woman seems to herself worthy to be loved. Though she be ugly in the
extreme, to no one are her own looks displeasing. Yet often, he that
pretends to love, begins in reality: full oft he becomes that which in the
beginning he feigned to be. For this cause, the rather, O ye fair, be
propitious to those who pretend. That passion will become real, which so
lately was feigned.
Now be it your part stealthily to captivate her affection by attentions;
just as the shelving bank is encroached on by the flowing stream. Be not
tired of praising either her face or her hair; her taper fingers too, and
her small foot. The praise of their beauty pleases even the chaste; their
charms are the care and the pleasure of even maidens. For, why, even now,
are Juno and Pallas ashamed at not having gained the decision in the
Phrygian groves? The bird of Juno 803 exposes
her feathers, when praised; if you look at them in silence, she conceals
her treasures. Amid the contests of the rapid course, their trimmed manes,
and their patted necks, delight the steeds.
Promise, too, without hesitation: promises attract the fair: make any Gods
you please to be witnesses of what you promise. Jupiter, from on high,
smiles at the perjuries of lovers, and commands the Æolian South winds to
sweep them away as worthless, Jupiter was accustomed to swear falsely to
Juno by the Styx: now is he himself indulgent to his own precedent. ‘Tis
expedient that there should be Gods; 804 and as
it is expedient, let us believe them to exist. Let frankincense and wine
be presented on their ancient altars. No repose, free from care and
similar to sleep, possesses them; live in innocence, for a Divinity is
ever present. Restore the pledge; let piety observe her duties; be there
no fraud; keep your hands free from bloodshed.
Deceive, if you are wise, the fair alone with Impunity; for this one piece
of deceit only is good faith to be disregarded. Deceive the deceivers; in
a great measure they are all a guilty race; let them fall into the toils
which they have spread. Egypt is said to have been without showers that
refresh the fields: and to have been parched during nine years. When
Thrasius went to Busiris, 805 and showed that Jupiter could
be propitiated by shedding the blood of strangers; to him Busiris said,
“Thou shalt become the first sacrifice to Jove, and, a stranger, thou
shalt produce rain for Egypt.” Phalaris, too, burnt in the bull the limbs
of the cruel Perillus; the unhappy inventor was the first to make proof of
his work. Each of them was just; and, indeed, no law is there more
righteous, than that the contrivers of death should perish by their own
contrivances. Therefore, since perjuries with justice impose upon the
perjured, let woman grieve, deceived through a precedent her own.
Tears, too, are of utility: by tears you will move adamant. Make her, if
you can, to see your moistened cheeks. If tears shall fail you, for indeed
they do not always come in time, touch your eyes with your wet hand. What
discreet person would not mingle kisses with tender words? Though she
should not grant them; still take them ungranted. Perhaps she will
struggle at first, and will say, “You naughty man!” still, in her
struggling, she will wish to be overcome. Only, let them not, rudely
snatched, hurt her tender lips, and take care that she may not be able to
complain that they have proved a cause of pain. He who has gained kisses,
if he cannot gain the rest as well, will deserve to lose even that which
has been granted him. How much is there wanting for unlimited enjoyment
after a kiss! Oh shocking! ’twere downright clownishness, and not
modesty. Call it violence, if you like; such violence is pleasing to the
fair; they often wish, through compulsion, to grant what they are
delighted to grant. Whatever fair one has been despoiled by the
sudden violence of passion, she is delighted at it; and the chief is as
good as a godsend. But she, who, when she might have been carried by
storm, has escaped untouched, though, in her features, she should pretend
gladness, will really be sorry. Phoebe suffered 806
violence; to her sister was violence offered; and pleasing was either
ravisher to the ravished. The damsel of Scyros being united to the
Hæmonian hero, is a well-known story indeed, but not unworthy to be
Now, the Goddess, worthy to conquer the other two at the foot of mount
Ida, had given her reward of the approval of her beauty. Now, from a
distant region, had a daughter-in-law come to Priam: and within Ilian
walls there was a Grecian wife. All swore in the words of the affronted
husband; for the grief of one was the common cause. A disgraceful thing,
had he not yielded in this to the entreaties of his mother, Achilles had
concealed his manhood by the long garments. What art thou doing,
descendant of Æacus? The wool is no task of thine. Do thou seek glory by
other arts of Pallas. What hast thou to do with work-baskets? 807
Thy hand is fitted for holding the shield. Why hold the allotted flax in
thy right hand, by which Hector shall fall? Spurn those spindles enwrapped
in the laborious warp; the lance from Pelion is to be brandished by that
hand. By chance in the same chamber there was a royal maiden; in her own
undoing she found that he was a male. By force, indeed, was she overcome,
so we must believe: but still, by force was she willing to be overcome.
Many a time did she say, “Stay,” when now Achilles was hastening to
depart; for, the distaff laid aside, he had assumed valiant arms.
Where now is this violence? Why, with gentle voice, Deidamia, dost thou
detain the perpetrator of thy disgrace? As, forsooth, there is shame in
first beginning at any time, so ’tis pleasing to the fair to
submit, when the other takes the initiative.
Alas! too great is the confidence of any youth in his own good looks, if
he awaits for her to be the first to ask him. Let the man make the first
approaches; let the man use words of entreaty; she will kindly receive his
soft entreaties. To gain your wish, ask; she only wishes to be
asked. Tell her the cause and the origin of your desires. Jupiter came
as a suppliant to the Heroines of olden times; 808 no fair
one found fault with great Jove. But if you perceive puffed-up vanity to
be the result of your prayers, desist from your design, and withhold your
advances. Many desire that which flies from them, and hate that which is
close at hand. By pressing on less eagerly, remove all weariness of
yourself. Nor must your hope of enjoyment be always confessed by you as
you entreat; let Love make his entrance concealed beneath the name of
friendship. By this introduction, I have seen the prudish fair deceived;
he who was the friend, became the lover. A fair complexion is unbecoming
in a sailor; he ought to be swarthy, from the spray of the sea and the
rays of the sun. It is unbecoming, too, to the husbandman, who, with his
crooked plough and his heavy harrows, is always turning up the ground in
the open air. And if your body is fair, you, by whom the glory of the
chaplet of Pallas 809 is sought, you will be
Let every one that is in love be pale; that is the proper complexion for
one in love. That is becoming; from your features, let the fair think that
you are not in good health. Pale with love for Lyrice, 810
did Orion wander in the woods; pale for the Naiad, in her indifference,
was Daphnis. 811 Thinness, too, shows the
feelings; and think it no disgrace to put a hood over your shining looks.
Let sleepless nights attenuate the bodies of the youths; care, too, and
the grief that proceeds from violent love. That you may gain your desires,
be wretched, that he who sees you may be able to say, “You are in love.”
Shall I complain, or only remind you how all right and wrong is
confused? Friendship is but a name, constancy an empty title. Alas! alas!
it is not safe to praise the object that you love to your friend. When he
has credited your praises, he supplants you. But the descendant of Actor
did not defile the couch of Achilles; so far as Pirithous was concerned,
Phædra was chaste. Pylades 812 loved Hermione, with the
affection with which Phoebus loved Pallas; and he was such, daughter of
Tyndarus, as thy twin brother Castor was towards thee. If any one expects
the same, let him expect that the tamarisks will bear apples, and let him
look for honey in the middle of the stream. Nothing pleases but what is
base; his own gratification is the object of each. This, too, becomes
pleasant from the sorrow of another. Oh disgraceful conduct! no enemy is
to be dreaded by the lover. Shun those whom you think trustworthy; then
you will be safe. Shun your kinsman, and your brother, and your dear
friend; this class will cause you real alarm.
I was here about to conclude; but there are various dispositions in
the fair; treat these thousand dispositions in a thousand different
ways. The same soil does not produce everything; one suits the vine,
another the olive; in this, corn springs up vigorously. There are as many
characters in these various dispositions, as there are forms in the world;
the man that is wise, will adapt himself to these innumerable characters.
And as at one moment Proteus will make himself flow in running water; and
now will be a lion, now a tree, now a shaggy goat. These fish are taken
with a dart, 813 those with hooks; these the
encircling nets draw up, the rope being extended. And let no one method be
adopted by you for all years. The aged hind will espy from a greater
distance your contrivances. Should you seem learned to the ignorant, or
forward to the bashful, she will at once distrust herself, now
apprehensive. Thence it happens, that she who has dreaded to trust herself
to the well-bred man, often falls into the embrace of some
A part remains of the task which I have undertaken, a part is completed;
here let the anchor, thrown out, hold fast my bark.
BOOK THE SECOND.
Sing, “Io Pæan” 901
and “Io Pæan” twice sing; the prey that was sought has fallen into our
toils. Let the joyous lover present my lines with the verdant palm; to Hesiod
the Ascræan and to Homer the Mæonian old man shall I be preferred.
Such did the stranger son of Priam set his whitening sails from the armed
together with the ravished wife. Such was he who bore thee, Hippodamia, in
his victorious chariot, carried by the wheels of the stranger. Why hasten
then, young man? Thy ship is sailing in the midst of the waves; and far
distant is the harbour for which I make. It is not enough, me your Poet,
for the fair to be gained by you. Through my skill has she been acquired;
through my skill must she be retained. ‘Tis no less merit to keep what is
acquired, than to gain it. In the former there is some chance; in the
latter will be a work of art.
Now, if ever, Boy Cupid and Cytherea, be propitious to me:
now, Erato; 903 for thou hast a name from
Love. Great attempts do I contemplate; to tell by what means Love can be
arrested, the Boy that wanders over the world so wide. He is both
inconstant, and he has two wings with which to fly.’Tis an arduous task to
impose laws on these.
Minos had obstructed all means of escape to the stranger. He discovered a
bold path 904 with his wings. When Dædalus
had enclosed the man half-bull, and the bull half-man, that was conceived
in the criminality of his mother; he said, “Most just Minos, let there be
a termination of my exile; and let my paternal land receive my ashes. And
since, harassed by the cruel Destinies, I cannot live in my country, let
me be enabled to die. If the merits of an old man are but small, grant a
return to this boy; if thou art unwilling to favour the boy, then favour
the old man.” This he said: but both this and many more things he might
have said; the other did not permit a return to the hero. Soon as he saw
this, he said, “Now, O now, Dædalus, thou hast a subject, upon which thou
mayst prove ingenious. Lo! Minos possesses the land, and he possesses the
ocean; neither earth nor water is open for our escape; there remains a
path through the heavens; through the heavens will we attempt to go.
Jupiter on high, grant pardon to my design. I do not aim to reach the
starry abodes; there is no way but this one, by which I may escape the
tyrant. Should a road through Styx be granted; then we will swim through
the Stygian waves; let the laws of nature be changed by me.” Misfortunes
often sharpen the genius; who could have ever believed, that a mortal
could attempt the paths of the air?
He arranges swift feathers in order, like oars, 905 and
connects the light work with fastenings of thread; the lower part, too, is
bound together with wax, melted by the fire; and now the work of the new
contrivance is finished. The smiling boy handles both the wax and the
feathers, not knowing that these instruments are prepared for his own
shoulders. To him his father says: “With these ships must we reach our
native land; by these means must we escape from Minos. The air Minos could
not, all else he has, shut against us. Cleave the air, which still thou
mayst, with these my inventions. But neither the virgin of Tegeæa, nor the
sword-bearing Orion, 906 the companion of Bootes, will
have to be beheld by thee. Follow me with the wings given to thee: I will
go before on the way. Be it thy care to follow; me thy leader, thou wilt
he safe. But if we shall go through the air of the heavens, the sun close
to us, the wax will not be able to endure the heat. If we shall wave our
wings below, the sea near to us, the fluttering feathers will be wet with
the ocean spray. Fly between them both; dread, too, the winds, my son; and
whichever way the breezes shall blow, set thy prospering sails.”
While he thus advises; he fits his work on to the boy, and shows how it is
to be moved; just as their mother teaches the helpless birds. Then he
places upon his shoulders the wings made for himself; and with timidity he
poises his body along this new track. And now about to fly, he gives
kisses to his little son; and the cheeks of the father do not withhold
their tears. There is a hill, less than a mountain, more lofty than the
level plain; hence are their two bodies entrusted to their mournful
flight. Dædalus both moves his own wings himself, and looks back on those
of his son; and he ever keeps on his own course. And now this unusual path
delights him, and, fear laid aside, Icarus flies more courageously with
emboldened skill. A person sees them, while he is angling 907
for fish with his quivering rod, and his right hand desists from the work
he has commenced. Now Samos and Naxos had been left behind, on the left
hand, and Paros, and Delos beloved by the Clarian God. 908
Lebynthos was to the right, and Calymne 909 shaded
with its woods, and Astypalæa, 910
surrounded with its fishy shallows; when the boy, too venturesome in his
inconsiderate daring, took a higher flight, and forsook his guide.
The fastenings give way; and the wax melts, the Divinity being so near;
and his arms, when moved, no longer catch the light breeze. Alarmed, he
looks down upon the sea from the lofty heavens; darkness, arising from
trembling apprehension, comes over his eyes. The wax has now melted; he
waves his bare arms, and he trembles, and has no means whereby to be
supported. Downward he falls; and as he falls, he cries, “Father! O
father! I am undone!” As he spoke, the azure waves closed his mouth. But
the unhappy father, a father now no longer, cried aloud, “Icarus, where
art thou? Or under what part of the sky dost thou fly?”
“Icarus,” again he cried aloud; his feathers he beheld in the waves. The
dry land covers his bones; the sea retains his name.
Minos could not restrain the wings of a mortal; I myself am attempting to
arrest a winged Divinity. If any one has recourse to the Hæmonian arts,
and gives that which he has torn from the forehead of the young horse, 911
he is mistaken. The herbs of Medea will not cause love to endure; nor yet
the Marsian spells 912 mingled with the magic notes.
The Phasian damsel would have retained the son of Æson, Circe Ulysses, if
love could only have been preserved through incantations. Philtres, too,
causing paleness, 913 are of no use when
administered to the fair. Philtres injure the intellect, and have a
maddening effect. Afar be all criminal attempts; to be loved, be worthy to
be loved; a property which comeliness, or beauty alone, will not
confer upon you. Though you should be Nireus, 914 be
praised by ancient Homer, and the charming Hylas, 915 carried
off by the criminality of the Naiads; that you may retain your mistress,
and not have to wonder that you are deserted, add the endowments of the
mind to the advantages of the person. Beauty is a fleeting advantage; and
the more it increases in years, the less it becomes, and, itself, is
consumed by length of time.
Neither the violets nor the opening lilies bloom for ever; and, the roses
lost, the thorny bush is prickly left behind. And, handsome man, soon
shall come to you the hoary locks; soon shall come the wrinkles, to furrow
your body over. Now form a disposition which may be lasting, and add it to
your beauty; that alone endures to the closing pile. And be it no light
care to cultivate the mind with the liberal arts, and to learn thoroughly
the two languages, the Latin and the Greek. Ulysses was not
handsome, but he was fluent; and yet with love he racked the ocean
Goddesses. 916 Ah! how oft did Calypso grieve
at his hastening to depart, and declare that the waves were not favorable
to his oars! Again and again did she enquire into the catastrophe of Troy.
Often in another manner was he wont to repeat the same thing. On the shore
they were standing; even there did the beauteous Calypso enquire about the
blood-stained death of the Odrysian chief.
With a little stick, for by chance he was holding a stick, he depicted on
the firm shore the subject on which she was enquiring. “This is Troy,”
said he; and the walls he drew on the shore; “This must be Simois for
thee, and suppose these to be my tents. There was a plain,” and here he
drew the plain, “which we moistened with the blood of Dolon, 917
while, as a spy, he was longing for the Hæmonian horses. 918
There were the tents of the Sithonian Rhesus; in this direction was I
borne back again by the captured steeds.” And many other things was he
depicting, when the waves suddenly carried off both Pergamus and the tents
of Rhesus together with their chief. Then the Goddess said, “Dost thou
behold how famous names these waves have swept away, which thou dost trust
will be favorable to thee about to depart?”
Come then, with hesitation, feel confidence in beauty so deceiving,
whoever you are; or else possess something of more value than comeliness.
A beseeming courtesy especially enlists the feelings; rudeness and harsh
language promote hatred. We dislike the hawk, because it is always living
in warfare; the wolves too, that are wont to rush upon the startled
flocks. But the swallow, because it is gentle, is exempt from the snares
of men; and the Chaonian bird 919 has the
turrets for it to inhabit.
Afar lie all strife and contentions of the abusive tongue; with sweet
words must gentle love be cherished. With strife let both wives persecute
their husbands, and husbands their wives; and, each in their turn, let
them ever be thinking that they must resort to law. 920 This is
the part of wives; strife is the dowry of the wife. Let the mistress ever
hear the accents that she longs for. At the bidding of no law have you
come to live together; in your case ’tis love that performs the duties of
the law. Bring soft caresses, and words that delight the ear, that she may
ever be joyous at your approach.
I do not come as the instructor of the wealthy in Love; he who makes
presents has no need of my experience. He who says, whenever he pleases,
“Accept this,” has a genius of his own. To him do I yield: he has greater
attractions than have any discoveries of mine. I am the instructor of the
poor, because, as a poor man, I have been in love. When I could not give
presents, I gave verses. 921 Let the poor man love with
caution, let the poor man stand in fear of bad language, and let him put
up with many a thing, not to be endured by the rich.
I remember that once, when in a rage, I disarranged the hair of my
mistress; of how many a day did that anger deprive me! I do not think I
did, and I did not see that I had, torn her tunic, but she said so, and at
my cost it was replaced. But you who are wise, avoid the errors of your
instructor; and stand in awe of the punishment of my transgressions.
Let battles be with the Parthians, but be there peace with your refined
mistress; mirth too, and whatever besides contains a reason for love. If
she is not sufficiently kind or affable to you her lover; have patience,
and bear it; after a time she will be softened. By giving way the supple
branch is bent from the tree; if you make trial of your strength, you
break it. By giving way the waves are swam across; but you cannot overcome
the stream if you swim against the flood which the tide carries
down. ‘Tis yielding that subdues the tigers and the Numidian lions. By
degrees only does the bull submit to the rustic plough. What was there
more coy than Atalanta of Nonacris? 922 Yet,
untamed as she was, she yielded to the deserving qualities of a man. They
say that many a time, beneath the trees, Milanion wept at his mishaps, and
the unkind conduct of the fair one. Full oft on his neck, as ordered, did
he bear the treacherous toils; full oft with his cruel spear did he
transfix the savage boars. Wounded, too, he experienced the stretched bow
of Hylæus; 923 but yet there was another bow
still more felt than this.
I do not bid you, in arms, to climb the woods of Mænalus, and I do not bid
you to carry the toils upon your neck. Nor yet do I bid you to expose your
breast to the discharged arrows. The requirements of my skill will be but
light to the careful man. Yield to her when opposing; by yielding, you
will come off victorious. Only take care to perform the part which she
shall bid you. What she blames, do you blame; whatever she approves, do
you approve; what she says, do you say; what she denies, do you deny. Does
she smile, do you smile; if she weeps, do you remember to weep. Let her
prescribe the law for the regulation of your features. If she plays, and
throws the ivory cubes 924 with her hand, do you throw
unsuccessfully, do you make bad moves 925 to the
throws; or if you are throwing 926 the
dice, let not the penalty attend upon her losing; take care that losing
throws often befall yourself, if your piece is moving at the game that
imitates 927 the tactics of war, take care
that your man falls before his enemy of glass. Do you yourself hold the
stretched out by its ribs; do you make room in the crowd the way that she
is going. And do not delay to place the footstool before the tasteful,
and take off or put on the sandals for her delicate feet. Often, too, must
the hand of your mistress, when cold, be made warm in your bosom, though
you yourself should shiver in consequence. And think it no disgrace
(although it should be a disgrace to you, still it will give pleasure), to
hold the looking-glass 930 with the hand of a free-born
He who, by killing the monsters of his wearied step-mother, earned those
heavens which before he had supported, is believed, amid the Ionian girls,
to have held the work-basket, 931 and to
have wrought the rough wool. The Tirynthian hero was obedient to the
commands of his mistress. Go then, and hesitate to endure what he
submitted to. When bidden to come to the Forum, take care always to be
there before the appointed time; and do not go away until a late hour.
Does she appoint to meet you at any place; put off everything else: run
quickly, and let not the crowd stop your purposed route. Is she returning
home at night, after having been at a feast; then, too, if she calls, come
to her as though a servant. 932 If you are in the country and
she says, “Come,” (love hates the tardy) if a vehicle 933
is not at hand, go your journey on foot. Let neither bad weather nor the
parching Dog-star detain you, nor the road made white with the snow that
Love is a kind of warfare; cowards, avaunt! These are not the standards to
be defended by timid men. In this tender warfare, night, and wintry
storms, and long journies, and cruel pain, and every kind of toil, have
their part. Many a time will you have to endure the rain pouring from the
clouds of heaven; cold and on the bare ground full oft will you lie.
Cynthius 934 said to have fed the cows of
Admetus of Pheræ, and to have lived in an humble cottage. What was
becoming to Phoebus, to whom is it not becoming? Away with all conceit,
whoever you are, who have a care for a lasting passion. If access is
denied you by a safe and smooth path; and if her door shall be fastened by
the bar put up; then, do you slip straight down through the open roof 935
let the high window, 936 too, present a secret passage.
She will be pleased when she knows that she has proved the cause of risk
to you. This will be to your mistress a pledge of your unvarying love.
Full oft, Leander, couldst thou have done without thy mistress; that she
might know thy passion, thou didst swim across.
And be not ashamed to make her handmaids, as each one is superior in rank,
nor yet her male servants, entirely your own. Salute them each by name,
there will be nothing thrown away: press their humble hands, proud lover,
with your own. Moreover, (the expense is but trifling) give to the servant
who asks, some little present from your means. Make a present, too, to the
handmaid, on the day on which 937 the
Gallic army, deceived by the garments of the matrons, received
retribution. Follow my advice, and make the lower classes 938
your own; in that number let there always be the porter, and him who lies
before the door of her chamber. And I do not bid you present to your
mistress any costly gift; give her moderate ones, but, in your
discrimination, well selected from those that are moderate. While the
country is abundantly rich in produce, while the branches are bending
beneath their load, let the boy bring your gifts from the country in his
basket. You may say that they have been sent by you from your suburban
retreat, although they may have been bought even in the Sacred Street. 939
Let him carry either grapes, or what Amaryllis was so fond of; 940
but, at the present day, she is fond of chesnuts no longer. And, besides,
both with a thrush and a pigeon, 941 sent as
a present, you may show how attentive you are to your mistress. By these
are the expectations of death, and solitary old age, disgracefully made
matter of purchase. Oh! may they perish through whom gifts promote
Why should I recommend you to send tender lines as well? Alas! poetry does
gain much honour. Verses are praised: but ’tis costly gifts that are
sought. If he is only rich, 944 a very barbarian is pleasing.
Truly is this the golden age; the greatest honours accrue through gold;
love is purchased with gold. Though thou thyself, Homer, shouldst come,
attended by the Muses; if thou shouldst bring nothing with thee, thou
wouldst be turned out of doors.
And yet there are the learned fair, a very limited number; another set are
not learned, but they wish to be so. Both kinds may be praised in verse;
the reader may set off the lines of whatever quality by a melodious voice.
Indeed, a poem, carefully composed in their honour, will be to these or to
those, as good, perhaps, as a little present. But take care that whatever
you are about to do of your own accord and consider convenient, your
mistress shall always first ask that of you. Has freedom been promised to
any one of your slaves; still cause him to make a request for it of your
mistress. If you forgive punishment and cruel fetters to your slave, let
her be indebted to you for what you were about to do. Let the advantage be
your own; let the credit be given to your mistress. Suffer no loss
yourself, and let her act the part of the person in power.
But whosoever you are who have a care to retain the fair, cause her to
believe that you are enchanted with her beauty. If she is in Tyrian
costume, praise the dress of Tyrian hue; 945 if she
is in that of Cos, 946 consider the Coan habit as
becoming. Is she arrayed in gold, let her be more precious in your eyes
than gold itself: if she wears a dress of felt, 947 praise
the felt dress that she wears. Does she stand before you in her tunic,
exclaim, “You are setting me on fire;” 948 but
entreat her, with a voice of anxiety, to beware of the cold. Is the
parting of her hair nicely arranged; praise the parting of it; has she
curled her hair by aid of the fire: curled locks, do you prove the
attraction. As she dances, admire her arms, her voice as she sings; and
use the words of one complaining because she has left off. Her very
embraces 949 you may commend, on the points
that please yourself; and with murmuring accents you may signify your
delight. Though she be more fierce than the grim Medusa; to her lover she
will become gentle and kind.
Only, take you care that you be not discovered to be a deceiver in these
expressions; and by your looks do not contradict your words. If devices
are concealed, they are of use; when discovered, they cause shame, and
deservedly remove confidence for all future time. Often, at the approach
of autumn (when the year is most beauteous, and the filled grape is
growing red with its purple juice; at the time when at one moment we are
chilled with cold, at another we are melted with heat), through the
varying temperature a languor takes possession of the body. She, indeed,
may be in good health; but if, through illness she keeps her bed, and,
ailing, feels the bad effects of the weather, then let your love and
affection be proved to the fair; then sow, that hereafter with the sickle
of abundance you may reap. Let no disgust at her malady, that renders her
so cross, come upon you: by your hands too, let whatever she will permit,
be done. And let her see you as you weep; and be not tired of giving her
kisses; and with her parched lips let her dry up your tears. Make many a
vow for her cure, but all before her: and as often as she will permit, be
seeing pleasant visions to tell her of. Let the old woman come, 950
too, to purify her couch and chamber; and in her palsied hand let her
carry before her the sulphur and the eggs. In all these things there will
be traces of a pleasing attention; for many a one has this road proved a
path to another man’s will. But still, let not loathing on the part of the
sick fair be the result of your officiousness; let there be certain limits
shown in your careful attentiveness. Do not you forbid her food, nor
administer the cups with the bitter draught; let your rival mingle those.
But when you have gained the open sea, you must not use the breeze to
which you set your sails from off the shore. While Love is wandering in
his youth, let him gain strength by habit; if you nurse him well, in time
he will be strong. Him that you fear as a bull, as a calf you were wont to
pat; the tree under which you are now reclining, was once a twig. A river
at its rise is small, but it acquires strength in its course; and where it
runs, it now receives many a stream. Make her become used to you; there is
nothing more powerful than habit. While you are courting her, avoid no
amount of trouble. Let her be always seeing you; let her be always lending
ear to you; let both night and day show your countenance. When you have a
greater confidence that you may be missed; then, destined to be her care
when absent, go away to a distance. Give yourself some repose; the land
that has lain fallow, gives back in abundance what has been entrusted to
it; and the dry ground sucks up the water of the heavens. Demophoôn, when
present, inflamed Phyllis in a less degree; when he had set sail, more
violently did she burn. The crafty Ulysses, by his absence, tortured
Penelope: far away, tearful Laodamia, was thy hero of Phylace.
But a short respite alone is safe; in time, cares become modified, and the
absent love decays and a new one makes its entrance. While Menelaus was
absent, Helen, that she might not lie alone, was received at night into
the warm bosom of his guest. What meant, Menelaus, this stupidity of
thine? Thou didst go away alone; under the same roof were both the
stranger and thy wife. And dost thou entrust, madman, the timid doves to
the hawk? Dost thou entrust the well-filled sheep-fold to the mountain
wolf? Helen commits no sin; this paramour of hers does no wrong; he does
what thou, what any one, would do. Thou dost persuade them to adultery, by
giving both time and opportunity. What advice, but thine own, has the fair
made use of? What is she to do? Her husband is away, and a guest, no
repulsive person, is present, and she is afraid to sleep alone in an empty
couch. Let the son of Atreus think better of it: I acquit Helen of
criminality; she made use of the opportunity given by an easy husband.
But neither is the tawny boar so fierce in the midst of his rage, when he
hurls the furious dogs with the lightning shock of his tusks; nor the
lioness, when she is giving the breast to her sucking whelps; nor the
little viper, when inhired by the heedless foot; as the woman, who is
furious on detecting the rival of her nuptial couch, and bears on her
features the proofs of her feelings. To the sword and to flames does she
resort; and, shame laid aside, onward she is impelled, as though struck by
the horns of the Aonian God. The barbarian fair one of Phasis avenged the
fault of her husband, and the violated rights of a wife, by the death of
her sons. See, how another cruel parent (’tis the swallow that you behold)
has her breast stained with blood. ‘Tis this breaks those attachments that
are firmly united, this, those of long duration; these faults must then be
guarded against by cautious men.
But still, my judgment does not condemn you to one fair alone. The Gods
forbid! hardly can the married woman adhere to this. Disport yourself; but
let your faultiness be concealed by a decent stealthiness. No glory must
be sought in one’s own delinquency. And do you give no present of which
the other may know; nor be there any stated times for your intriguing.
And, lest the fair one should catch you in the retreat so well known to
her, all must not be met in the same place of rendezvous. And, as often as
you shall be writing, do you first examine the whole of the tablet; many a
woman reads more than what has been sent to her. A slighted passion
brandishes the arms of retribution, and hurls back the weapon, and causes
yourself to complain of that of which it complained so lately.
So long as the son of Atreus was content with one woman, she, too, was
chaste; through the fault of her husband did she become culpable. She had
heard how that Chryses, bearing in his hand the laurel and the fillets,
had not prevailed in behalf of his daughter. She had heard, too, ravished
one of Lyrnesus, of thy sorrows; and how the warfare had been protracted
through disgraceful delays. Still, these things she had only heard of; the
daughter of Priam, herself, she had seen. Thou, the conqueror, wast the
disgraced captive of thy own captive. Then did she receive the son of
Thyestes, both into her chamber and her affections; and the daughter of
Tyndarus avenged herself on a husband so deeply criminal.
Your actions, which you have studiously concealed, if perchance any of
them are discovered, although they should be notorious, still do you
always deny them. On such occasions, do you neither be subdued, nor more
kind than usual. That bears the marks of a mind that has too deeply
offended. Still, spare not any endearments on your side; peace is entirely
centred in caresses alone; by these must the former intrigue be disavowed.
There are some who would recommend you to use injurious herbs, such as
savory; in my opinion they are so many poisons. Or else, they mingle
pepper with the seed of the stinging nettle; 952 and the
yellow camomile pounded in old wine. But the Goddess, whom the lofty Eryx
receives beneath his shady hill, does not allow us to be impelled in such
manner to her delights. The white onion 953 which
is sent from the Pelasgian city of Alcathoiis, 954 and the
salacious herbs which come out of the gardens, and eggs may be eaten; the
honey of Hymettus may be eaten, and the nuts which the pine-tree with its
sharp leaves produces.
Why, learned Erato, art thou thus diverging into the medical art? The
inner side of the turning-place must be grazed by my chariot. You, who
just now were, by my recommendation, to conceal your delinquencies, change
your course, and, by my advice, disclose your intrigues. Nor yet is any
inconsistency of mine to be censured; the curving ship does not always
carry those on board with the same breezes. For sometimes we run with the
Thracian Boreas, sometimes with the East wind; full aft does the canvass
swell with the Zephyrs, with the South wind full aft. See how, in the
chariot, the driver, at one moment, gives the flowing rein, at another,
skilfully checks the horses in full career. There are some, with whom an
anxious obsequiousness is ruinous, and if there is no rival existing, then
their passion waxes faint. The feelings often run riot amid prosperity;
and to bear good fortune with equanimity is no easy task. As the declining
fire, its strength consuming by degrees, itself lies concealed, and the
ashes become white over the surface of the fire; but still, when sulphur
is applied, it finds the flames that were extinguished, and the light
returns which existed before; so, when the feelings, sluggish through
repose, and free from care, become torpid, by sharp stimulants must love
be aroused. Make her to be jealous on your account, and rekindle her
deadened feelings; let her turn pale at the proof of your inconstancy.
Oh four times blest, and so oft, that it is not possible to limit it to
numbers, is that man, on whose account the slighted fair is in grief! who,
soon as the charge has reached her unwilling ears, faints away: and both
her voice and colour leave the sorrowing fair. Would that I were he, whose
locks she tears in her fury; would that I were he, whose tender cheeks she
tears with her nails; whom she looks upon bursting into tears; whom she
beholds with scowling eyes; without whom she cannot exist; but still
wishes that she could. If you enquire as to its duration: let the time be
short for her to complain of her injuries, lest her anger may acquire
strength in the slowly passing lapse of time.
And now let her fair neck be encircled in your arms; and as she weeps, she
must be received in your bosom. Give her kisses as she weeps: bestow her
caresses as she weeps. Peace will ensue: by this method alone is anger
appeased. When she has been passionately raving, when she shall seem to be
an assured enemy; then seek your treaty of peace in caresses; she will
then be pacified. For ’tis there that Concord dwells, all arms laid aside;
’tis in that spot, believe me, that the Graces were born. The doves which
fought the moment before, are now billing; their cooing has the meaning of
caresses, and of words.
At first 955 there was a confused mass of
things without arrangement; and the stars, the earth, and the ocean, were
but of one appearance. Afterwards, the heavens were placed above the
earth; the land was surrounded by the sea, and the confused Chaos was
divided into its elements. The woods received the beasts, the air the
birds as its possession; in the flowing waters, you, fishes were
concealed. At that time the human race wandered in the solitary woods: and
it consisted of nothing but brute force, and a mind quite uninformed. The
woods were their houses, grass their food, and leaves their beds; and for
a long time the one was unknown to the other. Voluptuous pleasure is said
to have been the first to soften their rude dispositions; afterwards, the
woman and the man settled in the same spot. What should they do?
They had been instructed by no preceptor: Venus completed this delightful
task without any art. The bird has an object to love: the female fish
finds in the midst of the waters an object with which to share her joys.
The hind follows her mate; the serpent couples with the serpent; the
bitch, too, consorts with the dog. The delighted sheep unites with the
ram; the heifer, also, is pleased with the bull; the fiat-nosed she-goat,
too, receives her unclean mate. 956 Mares
are driven to frenzy, and follow the horses, separated by streams, over
places far distant from each other in situation. Come, then, and give an
efficacious remedy to the angered fair; ’tis that alone that puts an end
to violent grief. ‘Tis that remedy which excels the potions of Machaon; 957
through that, when you have offended, you will have to be reinstated.
While I was thus singing, Apollo, suddenly appearing, touched with his
thumb the strings of his lyre inlaid with gold. In his hands there was a
laurel, placed on his holy locks there was a laurel: visible as a Poet he
“Thou instructor in wanton Love,” says he, “come, lead thy pupils to my
temples. There is there a sentence celebrated in fame over the universal
world, which bids each one to know himself. 959 He who
shall be known to himself, will alone love with prudence, and will
proportion every task to his strength. He to whom nature has given beauty,
for that let him be admired; he who has a fair complexion, let him often
lie down with a shoulder exposed. He who charms with his discourse, let
him break the quietude of silence; he who sings with skill, let him sing;
he who drinks with elegance, 960 let him drink. But in the
middle of a conversation, neither let those who are eloquent declaim, and
let not the insane poet be reciting his own compositions.”
Thus Phoebus recommended; observe this recommendation of Phoebus. There is
full confidence in the hallowed lips of this Divinity. I am now called to
my more immediate subject: whoever shall love with prudence, he will prove
successful, and will obtain from my skill what he shall require. The
furrows do not always return with interest that which has been entrusted
to them; nor does the breeze always aid the veering barks. What pleases
lovers, is but a little: ’tis much more that crosses them; let them
resolve to endure many things with their feelings. As many as are the
hares on Athos; 961 as the bees that feed on
as the berries which the azure-coloured tree of Pallas bears; as the
shells on the sea-shore; so many are the pangs of love; the shafts which
we endure are reeking with plenteous gall.
She, whom perchance you shall see, will be said to have gone out of doors;
believe that she is gone out of doors, and that you make a mistake in your
seeing. Is the door shut against you on the appointed night; endure even
to lay your body on the dirty ground. Perhaps, too, the lying maid will
say with a haughty air, “Why is that fellow blocking up our door?”
Suppliantly entreat even the door-posts of the obdurate fair; and place at
the door the roses that have been taken from off your head. 963
Come when she desires it; when she shall shun you, you’ll go away. It is
not becoming for men of good breeding to cause weariness of their company.
Why should your mistress be able to say of you, “There is no getting rid
of this man?” The senses 964 are not on the alert at all
hours. And deem it no disgrace to put up with the curses of the fair one,
or her blows, nor yet to give kisses to her delicate feet.
But why dwell upon trifles? Let my mind be occupied with greater subjects.
Of great matters will I sing; people, give all attention. I attempt an
arduous task, but merit there is none, but what is secured by arduous
means. By my undertaking are laborious attempts required. Endure a rival
with patience; the victory will rest with yourself; you will be the
conqueror on the heights of mighty Jove. 965 Believe
that not a mortal tells you this, but the Pelasgian oaks of Dodona: my
skill has nothing superior to this to teach you. Does she make a sign to
him, do you put up with it; does she write, don’t you touch the tablets;
let her come from whatever place she likes; and wherever she chooses, let
her go. This do husbands allow to their lawful wives; even, too, when
thou, gentle sleep, 966 dost come to thy duty. I
confess, that in this art I myself am not yet perfect. What must I do? I
am myself unequal to my own precepts. And is any one in my presence to be
making signs to my mistress? And am I to endure it? And is not my anger to
hurry me away to any extreme? Her own husband 967 (I
remember it well) gave her a kiss; I complained of kisses being given; my
love is brimful of fierceness. Not once alone has this failing proved an
injury to me; he is more skilful, by whose encouragement other men visit
his mistress. But ’tis still better to know nothing of it. Allow stealthy
intrigues to lie concealed, lest the blush of confession should fly in
future from her countenance when detected.
With greater reason then, ye youths, forbear to detect your mistresses.
Let them be guilty; and guilty, let them suppose that they have deceived
you. When detected, the passion increases; when the fortune of the two is
the same, each persists in the cause of the disgrace. There is a story
told, very well known in all the heavens, how Mars and Venus 969
were caught by the contrivance of Mulciber. Father Mars, distracted by a
frantic passion for Venus, from a terrible warrior, became a lover.
Neither did Venus (for, indeed, no Goddess is there more kind) proved coy
or stubborn to Gradivus. O how many a time is she said, in her wantonness,
to have laughed at the feet of her husband, and at his hands, hardened
with the fire or his handicraft. In the presence of Mars, mocking him, she
imitated her husband, and she was beauteous even while so doing;
and many a grace was there combined with her charms. But they were in the
habit of skilfully concealing their early intercourse; and their frailty
was replete with modest propriety. Through the information of the Sun (who
is there that can deceive the Sun?), the actions of his wife became known
to Vulcan. Thou Sun, what a bad example thou art setting! Ask a bribe of
her; and shouldst thou hold thy tongue, she has a favour which she may
grant to thee.
Around and above the bed, Muleiber disposes the hidden toils; the work, by
its fineness, escapes their eyes. He pretends a journey to Lemnos; the
lovers come, according to the appointment; entangled in the toils, they
both lie naked. He calls the Gods together; the captives afford a
spectacle. People believe that Venus could hardly restrain her tears. They
cannot conceal their faces; they cannot, in fact, veil their modesty with
their hands. Upon this, one says, laughing, 970
“Transfer to me thy chains, most valiant Mavors, if they are a burden to
thee.” With difficulty, Neptune, at thy entreaty, does he release their
captured bodies. Mars makes for Thrace, 971 and she
for Paphos. 972 This, Vulcan, was done by
thee; what before they used to conceal, they now do more openly, since all
modesty is gone. Yet often, foolish one, dost thou confess that thou didst
act unwisely; and they say that thou hast repented of thy wrath. This I
have already forbidden: lo! Dione forbids you to suffer that detection
which she herself endured. And do you arrange no toils for your rival; and
intercept no words written by the hand in secret. Let the men seek for
those, (if, indeed, they think they ought to be sought for) whom the fire
and water render 973 lawful husbands.
Behold! again do I protest; no sportive subject is here treated of, but
what is permitted by the laws; there is no matron concerned with my
sallies. 974 Who would dare to publish to
the profane the rites of Ceres, 975 and the
great mysteries that were established in the Thracian Samos? ‘Tis a small
merit to hold one’s silence upon matters; but, on the other hand, ’tis a
grievous fault to speak of things on which we should be silent. O justly
does it happen, that the blabbing Tantalus is thirsting in the midst of
the water, the apples on the tree being caught at by him in vain! Cytherea
especially bids her rites to be concealed. I recommend no talkative person
to approach them.
If the mysteries of Venus are not enclosed in chests, 976
and the hollow cymbals do not resound with frantic blows; although among
ourselves they are celebrated by universal custom, yet it is in such a
manner that among us they demand concealment. Venus herself, as oft as she
lays her garments aside, conceals her groin with the left hand, 977
a little bent back. The cattle couple in public and promiscuously; even
when this is seen, full oft the fair one turns away her face. Chambers and
doors are provided for our stealthy dalliance; and our nakedness lies
concealed by garments placed over it. And if we do not require darkness,
still we do something of a retired shade, and something less exposed than
open day. In those times, even, when tiles did not as yet keep out the sun
and the shower, but the oak was affording both shelter and food; in the
groves and caves, and not in the open air, were shared the delights of
love. So great was the regard for modesty, even in a savage race. But
now-a-days we give praises to the exploits of the night; and nothing
beyond the power of talking of it, is purchased at a heavy price. 978
You will, for sooth, be discussing all the damsels in every quarter, that
you may say to every person, “She, too, has been mine,” that none may be
wanting for you to point at with your fingers; and as you touch upon each,
there will be a scandalous tale. But I am complaining of trifles; some
pretend things, which, if true, they would deny, and not declare that
there is not a woman from whom they have not received the last favour. If
they cannot meddle with their persons, so far as they can, they meddle
with their names; and, their persons untouched, their reputation bears the
Go now, odious keeper, and shut the doors of the fair: and add to the
solid door-posts a hundred bars. What safety is there, while the defiler
of character exists, and desires to be thought that he is that which it
has not proved his lot to be? Even my real amours I confess but with
reserve, and my secret intrigues are concealed with sure fidelity.
Especially forbear to censure the blemishes of the fair; to many it has
proved of advantage to conceal them. Her complexion was not made an
objection against Andromeda by him, on whose two feet were the waving
To all others Andromache seemed of larger stature 980 than
was becoming; Hector was the only one who called her of moderate size.
What you endure with impatience, accustom yourself to; and you will endure
it with patience. Length of time makes many things endurable; but a rising
passion catches sight of everything. While the young branch is uniting
within the green bark, 981 whatever breeze shakes it
while now tender, it falls. Soon, hardened in time, the same tree will
stoutly resist the winds, and bear the adopted fruit.
Time itself removes all blemishes from the person; and what was a fault,
in lapse of time ceases so to be. The nostrils that are unaccustomed to
it, are not able to endure the hides of bulls; the odour is not perceived
by those that have been rendered used to it in length of time. We may
palliate faults by names; let her be called swarthy, whose blood is
blacker than the pitch of Illyria. If she has a cast in the eyes, she is
like Venus: if yellow haired, like Minerva. She that is only half alive
through her leanness, let her be grace ful. Whatever woman is small, say
that she is active; her that is gross, call plump; and let each fault lie
concealed in its proximity to some good quality.
And don’t you enquire what year she is now passing, nor under what
Consulship 982 she was born; a privilege
which the rigid Censor 983 possesses. And this,
especially, if she has passed the bloom of youth, and her best years 984
are fled, and she now pulls out the whitening hairs. This age, O youths,
or even one more advanced, has its advantages; this soil will produce its
crops, this is worth the sowing. While strength and years permit, endure
labour; soon will bending old age come with silent foot. Either cleave the
ocean with the oars, or the earth with the plough; or turn your warlike
hands to cruel arms; or devote your strength and your attention to the
fair. This, too, is a kind of warfare; 985 this,
too, seeks its advantages. Besides, in these 986 there
is a greater acquaintance with their subject; and there is long practice,
which alone renders skilful. By attention to dress they repair the ravages
of years; and by carefulness they cause themselves not to appear aged.
Utque velis, Venerem jungunt per mille figuras.
Inveniat plures nulla tabella modos.
Illis sentitur non irritata voluptas:
Quod juvet, ex æquo fcemina virque ferant.
Odi concubitus, qui non utrumque resolvunt;
Hoc est, cur pueri tangar amore minus.
Odi quæ præbet, quia sit præbere necesse;
Siccaque de lanâ cogitât ipsa suâ.
Quæ datur officio, non est mihi grata voluptas,
Officium faciat nulla puella mihi.
Me voces audire juvat sua gaudia fassas:
Utque morer memet, sustineamque roget.
Aspiciam dominse victos amends ocellos.
Langueat; et tangi se vetet ilia diu.
Those advantages has nature given not to early youth, which are wont to
spring up soon after seven times five years 987 have
passed. Those who are in a hurry, let them drink of new wine; for me let
the cask, stored up in the times 988 of
ancient Consuls, pour forth the wine of my ancestors. No plane-tree but a
mature one is able to withstand Phoebus; the shooting grass, 989
too, hurts the tender feet. And could you, forsooth, have preferred
Hermione 990 to Helen? And was Gorge 991
more attractive than her mother? Whoever you are that wish to enjoy
matured passion, if you only persevere, you will obtain a fitting reward.
Conscius ecce duos accepit lectus amantes:
Ad thalami clausas, Musa, résisté fores.
Sponte suâ, sine te, celoberrima verba loquentur:
Nec manus in lecto læva jacebit iners.
Invenient digiti, quod agant in partibus illis,
In quibus occulte spicula figit Amor.
Fecit in Andromache prius hoc fortissimus Hector;
Nec solum bellis utüis file fuit.
Fecit et in captâ Lyrneside magnus Achilles,
Cum premeret mollem lassus ab hoste torum.
Illis, te tangi manibus, Brisei, sinebas,
Imbutæ Phrygiâ quæ nece semper erant.
An fuit hoc ipsum, quod te lasciva juvaret
Ad tua victrices membra venire manus?
Crede mihi, non est Yeneris properanda voluptas:
Sed sensim tarda prolicienda morâ.
Cum loca repereris, quæ tangi fcemina gaudet;
Non obstet, tangas quo minus ilia, pudor.
Adspicics oculos tremulo fulgore micantes,
Ut sol a liquida sæpe refulget aquâ.
Accèdent questus, accedet amabile murmur,
Et dulces gemitus, aptaque verba loco.
Sed neque tu dominam velis majoribus usus
Desine; nec cursus anteat ilia tuos.
Ad metam properate simul; turn plena voluptas,
Cum pariter victi foemina virque jacent.
Hi tibi servandus tenor est, cum libera dantur
Otia; furtivum nec timor urget opus.
Cum mora non tuta est, totis incumbere remis
Utile, et admisso subdere calcar equo.
There is an end now of my task; grant me the palm, ye grateful youths, and
present the myrtle garlands to my perfumed locks. As great as was
Podalirius 992 among the Greeks in the art of
healing, as the descendant of Æacus with his right hand, as Nestor with
his eloquence; as great as Calchas 993 was in
soothsaying, as the son of Telamon was in arms, as Automedon 994
was in guiding the chariot, so great a Lover am I. Celebrate me as your
bard, ye men, to me repeat my praises; let my name be sung throughout all
the earth. Arms have I given to you; to Achilles Vulcan gave arms. With
the gifts presented to you, prove victorious, as he proved victorious. But
whoever subdues the Amazon with my weapons, let him inscribe upon his
—”Naso was my preceptor.”
And lo! the charming fair are asking me to give them my precepts. You then
shall be the next care of my song.——
BOOK THE THIRD.
With arms against
the Amazons I have furnished the Greeks. Arms remain for me to present,
Penthesilea, 1001 to thee and to thy
squadrons. Go to the combat equally prepared; and may those prove the
victors, whom genial Dione 1002 favours, and the Boy who
flies over the whole world. It was not fair for the females unprotected to
engage with the men in arms, and so it would have been disgraceful for you
to conquer, ye men.
One of the multitude may say, “Why add venom to the serpent? And why
deliver the sheep-fold to the ravening wolf? Forbear to lay the
culpability of the few upon the many; and let each fair one be considered
according to her own deserts. If the younger son of Atreus has Helen, and
the elder son of Atreus 1003 has the sister of Helen, to
charge with criminality, if the son of Oclus, 1004
through the wickedness of Eriphyle, daughter of Talaion, alive, and with
living steeds, descended to Styx; there is Penelope constant, while her
husband was wandering for twice five years, and for as many years engaged
in war. Witness the hero from Phylace, 1005 and
her who is said to have descended as the companion of her husband, and to
have died before her destined years. The wife from Pagasæ redeemed the son
of Pheres 1006 from death, and in place of
the funeral of her husband, the wife was carried out. “Receive me,
Capaneus; we will mingle our ashes,” said the daughter of Iphis, and she
leapt on the midst of the pile. Virtue, herself, too, is a female, both in
dress and name. ‘Tis not to be wondered at, if she favours her own sex.
But still, ’tis not such dispositions as these that are required by my
art. Sails of less magnitude are befitting my skiff. 1008
Nothing but wanton dalliance is taught by me; in what manner a woman is to
be loved, I purpose to teach. The woman repels neither the flames, nor the
cruel bow; those weapons, I see, make less havoc among the men. Many a
time do the men prove false; not often the charming fair; and, if you make
inquiry, they have but few charges of fraud against them. Jason, the
deceiver, repudiated the Phasian, when now a mother; and into the bosom of
the son of Æson there came another bride. 1009
Ariadne, left alone in an unknown spot, had fed the sea-birds, so far,
Theseus, as thou wast concerned. Enquire why she is said to have gone on
her nine journies, 1010 and hear how the woods
lamented Phyllis, their foliage laid aside. And Elissa, she has the credit
of affection; and still, that guest of thine, Elissa, afforded both the
sword and the cause for thy destruction. Shall I tell what it was that
ruined thee? Thou didst not know how to love; thou wast wanting in skill;
through skill, love flourishes for ever.
Even still would they have been ignorant, but Cytherea commanded me to
instruct them, and stood, herself, before my eyes. Then to me she said,
“Why have the unfortunate fair deserved this? An unarmed multitude is
handed over to the men in arms. Two treatises 1011 have
rendered them skilful; this side, as well, must be instructed by thy
advice. He who before had uttered 1012
reproaches against the wife from Therapnæ, soon sang her praises to a more
fortunate lyre. If well I know thee, injure not the fair whom thou dost
adore; their favour must be sought by thee so long as thou shalt live.”
Thus she said; and from the myrtle (for she was standing with her locks
wreathed with myrtle) she gave me a leaf and a few berries. Receiving
them, I was sensible of the divine influence as well; the sky shone with
greater brightness, and all care departed from my breast. While she
inspires my genius; hence receive the precepts, ye fair, which propriety,
and the laws, and your own privileges, 1013
allow you. Even now, be mindful of old age, that one day will come; then
will no time be passed by you in idleness. Disport yourselves, while yet
you may, and while even now you confess to your true years; after the
manner of the flowing stream, do the years pass by. Neither shall the
water which has past by, be ever recalled; nor can the hour which has
past, ever return. You must employ your youthful age; with swift step age
is gliding on; and that which follows, is not so pleasing as that which
having passed was charming. Those brakes, which are withering, I have
beheld as beds of violets; from amid those brambles, has a beauteous
chaplet been gathered for myself.
The time will be, when you, who are now shutting out a lover, will be
lying, an old woman, chilled in the lonely night. No door 1014
of yours will be broken open in the broils of the night; nor will you find
in the morning your threshold bestrewed with roses. 1015
How soon, ah me! are our bodies pursed with wrinkles, and that colour
which existed in the beauteous face, fades away! The grey hairs, too,
which you might have sworn that you had had from childhood, will suddenly
be sprinkled over all your head. Old age is thrown off by serpents,
together with the light slough; and the shedding of their horns makes the
stags not to be old. Our advantages fly irretrievably; pluck the flowers
then; if they be not plucked, they will lamentably fade themselves to your
sorrow. Besides, child-bearing makes the hours of youth more short-lived;
with continual crops the soil waxes old.
Endymion of Latmus, O Moon, causes not thee to blush; nor was Cephalus a
prey for the rosy Goddess to be ashamed of. Though Adonis be allowed to
Venus, whom she yet laments; whence had she Æneas and Hermione 1016
for her children? Follow, O race of mortals, the example of the Goddesses;
and refuse not your endearments to the eager men. Even should they deceive
you, what do you lose? All remains the same. Were a thousand to partake
thereof, nothing is wasted thereby. Iron is worn away, stones are consumed
by use; your persons are proof against all apprehension of detriment. Who
would forbid light to be taken from another light presented? Or who, on
the deep sea, would hoard up the expanse of waters? “But ’tis not right,”
you say, “for any woman to grant favours to a man.” Tell me, what are you
losing but the water, which you may take up again? 1017 Nor
are my words urging you to prostitution; but they are forbidding you to
fear evils that do not exist: your favours are exempt from loss to
But while I am in harbour, let a gentle breeze impel me, destined to sail
with the blasts of a stronger gale. I begin with dress: 1018
from the well-dressed vine Bacchus has birth; and in the well-dressed
field the high corn springs up. Beauty is the gift of the Divinity; how
many a one prides herself on her beauty? Still, a great part 1019
of you is wanting in such endowments. Care will confer charms; charms
neglected will perish, even though she be like the Idalian Goddess. If the
fair of olden times did not pay such attention to their persons; neither
had the ancients men so well-dressed. If Andromache was clad in a coarse
tunic, what wonder is it? She was the wife of a hardy soldier. And would
his companion, forsooth, come bedecked to Ajax, him whose covering was
seven hides of oxen. Formerly a rustic simplicity existed: now gorgeous
Rome possesses the wealth of the subdued earth. See the Capitol, what it
now is and what it was, you would declare that they belonged to different
Jupiters. The Senate-house, which is now right worthy of an assemblage so
august, when Tatius held the sway, was made of straw. The fields of the
Palatine hill, which are now resplendent in honour of Phoebus 1020
and our rulers, what were they but pastures for the oxen that ploughed?
Let old times delight others: I congratulate myself that I am born thus
late; this is the age that is suited to my tastes. Not because the pliable
gold is now dug out of the earth, and choice shells 1021
come here from foreign shores; nor yet because, the marble cut out,
mountains diminish; nor yet because the azure waves are kept out by the
moles. 1022 But because civilization
prevails; and because the rude manners that flourished with our ancient
forefathers have not come down to our days.
But do not you as well load your ears with precious stones, which the
tawny Indian seeks in the green waves. And do not go forth heavily loaded
with clothes embroidered with gold: by the wealth through which you seek
to attract us, you often drive us away. By neatness we are captivated; let
not your hair be without arrangement; the hands applied to it both give
beauty and deny it. The method, too, of adorning is not a single one; let
each choose the one that is becoming it to her, and let her first consult
her mirror. An oval face becomes a parting upon the unadorned head:
Laodamia had her hair thus arranged. Round features 1023
require a little knot to be left for them on the top of the head, so that
the ears may be exposed. Let the hair of another he thrown over either
shoulder. In such guise art thou, tuneful Phoebus, thy lyre being assumed.
Let another Lave her hair tied behind after the manner of well-girt Diana,
as she is wont when she hunts the scared wild beasts. It becomes another
to have her floating locks to flow loosely: another must be bound by
fillets over her fastened tresses. Another it delights to be adorned with
the figure of the tortoise 1024 of the Cyllenian God: let
another keep up her curls that resemble the waves. 1025
But neither will you count the acorns on the branching native oak, nor how
many bees there are in Hybla, nor how many wild beasts on the Alps: nor am
I able to comprehend in numbers so many modes; each successive day
brings a new fashion. Even neglected locks are becoming to many; often
would you suppose that they are lying neglected since yesterday; the very
moment before they have been combed afresh. Let art imitate chance. ‘Twas
thus that, in the captured city, when Hercules beheld Iole; “Her,” said
he, “do I love.” In such guise, deserted fair one of Gnossus, did Bacchus
bear thee away in his chariot, while the Satyrs shouted Evôe! O how
indulgent is nature to your beauty, whose blemishes can be atoned for in
fashions so numerous! We men, to our misfortune, become bald; and our
hair, carried away by time, falls off, like Boreas shaking down the
The female stains her grey hair with the herbs from Germany; 1026
and by art a colour is sought superior to the genuine one. The female
walks along, thickly covered with purchased hair; and for money 1027
she makes that of others—here comes those of fair complexion: black
became the laughter of Brises.
Nor is she ashamed to buy it openly: we see it being sold before the eyes
of Hercules 1028 and the Virgin throng.
What am I to say on clothing? Gold flounces, 1029 I
have no need of you; nor you, the wool which dost blush twice dipt in
Tyrian purple. Since so many colours can be procured at a lower price,
what folly it is to be carrying a fortune on one’s person. 1030
Lo! there is the colour of the sky, at the time when the sky is without
clouds, and the warm South wind is not summoning the showers of rain. Lo!
there is the colour like to thee, that art said 1031 once
to have borne away Phryxus and Helle from the treachery of Ino. That which
resembles the waves, 1032 has its name, too, from the
waves; I could imagine that the Nymphs are clad in vestments of this
colour. Another resembles saffron; in saffron-coloured garments is the
dewy Goddess dressed,when she yokes her steeds that bear the light of day.
Another resembles the Paphian myrtles; another the purple amethysts, or
the white roses, or the Thracian crane. Neither are there wanting,
Amaryllis, 1033 thy chesnuts, nor yet
almonds; and wax 1034 has given its own name to
As many as the flowers which the renewed earth produces, when in warm
spring the vine puts forth its buds, and sluggish winter retreats; so
many, or still more, shades of dye does the wool imbibe. Choose them by
rule; for every colour will not be suitable to every complexion.
When she was carried off, then, too, was she clothed in a dark garment.
White befits the swarthy; in white, daughter of Cepheus, thou wast
charming; by thee, thus clothed, was Seriphos 1035
How nearly was I recommending you that there should be no shocking goat 1036
in the armpits, and that your legs should not be rough with harsh hair.
But I am not instructing fair ones from the crags of Caucasus, and who are
drinking, Mysian Caïcus, of thy waves. Besides; need I to recommend that
idleness should not blacken your teeth, and that your mouth ought to be
washed each morning with water used for the purpose. You know, too, how to
find whiteness in an application of wax; 1037 she
who is blushing with no real blood, is blushing by the aid of art. With
skill do you fill up the bared edges of the eye-brows, 1038
and the little patch 1039 covers your cheeks in all
their genuineness. ‘Tis no harm, too, to mark the eyes 1040
slightly with ashes; or with saffron, produced, beauteous Cydnus, near to
thee. I have a little treatise, 1041 but
through the care bestowed, a great work, in which I have mentioned the
various recipes for your beauty. From that as well, do you seek aid for
your diminished charms: my skill is not idle in behalf of your interests.
But let not your lover discover the boxes exposed upon the table; art, by
its concealment only, gives aid to beauty. Whom would not the paint
disgust, besmeared all over your face, when, through its own weight, it
flows and falls upon your heated bosom? Why is the smell of the oesypum 1042
so powerful, sent from Athens though it be, an extract drawn from the
filthy fleece of the sheep? Nor would I recommend you in his presence to
apply the mixture of the marrow of the deer, 1043 nor
before him to clean your teeth. These things will give you good looks, but
they will be unbecoming to be seen; there are many things, too, which,
disgusting while being done, add charms when done. The statues which now
bear the name of the laborious Myron, 1044 were
once a sluggish weight and a solid mass. That the ring may be made, the
gold is first beaten; the clothes, that you are wearing, were once dirty
wool. While it was being wrought, it was hard stone; now, as a beautiful
statue, 1045 naked Venus is wringing the
moisture from her dripping locks.
You, too, while you are dressing, let us suppose to be asleep; after the
finishing hand, you will be seen much more àpropos. Why is the cause of
the fairness of your complexion known to me? Shut the door of your
chamber, why expose the work half done? It is proper for the men to be in
ignorance of many a thing. The greatest part of things would cause
disgust, if you were not to conceal what is within. Examine the gilded
statues which hang in the decorated theatre; how thin the tinsel that
covers the wood. But it is not permitted the public to approach them
unless completed; neither ought your charms to be heightened unless the
men are at a distance. But I would not forbid you to allow your hair to be
combed in their presence, so that it may be flowing along your back. Only
take care especially on such occasions not to be cross; and do not many
times undo your hair, pulled down, when fastened up. Let your coiffeuse be
with a whole skin. I detest her who tears the face of her attendant with
her nails, and who, seizing the hair-pin, pierces her arms. 1046
As she touches the head of her mistress, she curses it; and at the same
time, streaming with blood, she is crying over the odious locks.
The fair one that has but little hair, let her set a watch on her
threshold; or let her always make her toilet in the temple 1047
of the Good Goddess. I was unexpectedly announced as having paid a visit
to a certain lady; in her confusion, she put on her locks the wrong side
before. May a cause of shame so disgraceful fall to the lot of my foes,
and may that dishonour happen to the Parthian dames. A mutilated animal is
repulsive, the fields without grass are repulsive; and so is a shrub
without foliage, and a head without hair. You have not come to be
instructed by me, Semele, or Leda, thou, too, Sidonian fair, 1048
who wast borne across the sea upon the fictitious bull; or Helen, whom,
Menelaus, not without reason, thou didst demand to be restored to thee,
and whom, not without reason, thou Trojan ravisher, didst retain. A
multitude comes to be instructed, both pretty and ugly damsels; and the
unsightly are ever more in number than the good-looking. The beauteous
care less for the resources and the precepts of art; they have their own
endowments, charms that are powerful without art. When the sea is calm,
the sailor rests free from care; when it becomes boisterous, he appeals to
his own resources.
Few, however, are the forms free from defect. Conceal your blemishes; and,
so far as you can, hide the imperfections of your person. If you are
short, sit down; that, while standing, you may not appear to be sitting;
and if of a diminutive size, throw yourself upon your couch. Here, too,
that your measure may not be able to be taken as you lie, take care that
your feet are concealed with the clothes 1049
thrown over them. She who is too thin, let her wear clothes of thick
texture; and let her vestments hang loosely from her shoulders. Let her
who is pale, tint her complexion with purple stripes; 1050
do you that are more swarthy, have recourse to the aid of the Pharian
fish. 1051 Let an ill-shaped foot be
always concealed in a boot of snow-white leather steeped in alum; and do
not unloose their laced sandals from the spindly legs. For high shoulders,
small pads are suitable; 1052 and let the girth 1053
encircle the bosom that is too prominent. She whose fingers are dumpy, and
whose nails are rough, should mark with but little gesture whatever is
said. She, whose breath is strong smelling, should never talk with an
empty stomach; and she should always stand at a distance 1054
from her lover’s face.
If your teeth are black, or large, or not, growing straight, you will
suffer very great inconvenience from laughing. Who could have supposed it?
The fair take lessons even in laughing; and even in that respect is
gracefulness studied by them. Let your mouth be but moderately open; let
the dimples on either side he but small; and let the extremity of the lips
cover the upper part of the teeth. And do not let your sides be shaking
with prolonged laughter; but let them utter sounds gentle and feminine, to
I know not what degree. Some there are, who distort their face with an
unsightly grin; another, when she is joyous in her laughter, you would
take to be crying. Another makes a harsh noise, and screams in a
disagreeable manner; just as the unsightly she-ass brays by the rough
To what point does not art proceed? Some study how to weep with grace, and
cry at what time and in what manner they please. Nay, further; when the
letters are deprived of their full sound, and the lisping tongue becomes
contracted with an affected pronunciation; then is grace sought in an
imperfection; to pronounce certain words badly, they learn to be less able
to speak than they really are. To all these points, since they are of
consequence, give attention. Learn how to walk with steps suited to a
female. Even in the gait, there are certain points of gracefulness not to
be disregarded; this both attracts and repels men who are strange to you.
This fair one moves her sides with skill, and with her flowing tunics
catches the breeze, and haughtily moves her extended feet. Another walks
just like the redfaced spouse of some Umbrian 1055
husband, and, straddling, takes huge strides. But, as in many other
things, let there be a medium here as well; one movement is clownish;
another movement will be too mincing in its gait. But let the lower part
of your shoulders, and the upper part of your arm be bare, to be beheld
from your left hand upwards. This is especially becoming to you, ye of
fair complexion; when I see this, I have always a longing to give a kiss
to the shoulder, where it is exposed.
The Sirens were monsters of the deep, which with their tuneful voices
detained the ships, even though in full career. On hearing them, the son
of Sisyphus 1056 almost released his body
from the mast; for the wax 1057 was melted in the ears of
his companions. The voice is an insinuating quality; let the fair learn
how to sing. In place of beauty, her voice has proved the recommendation
of many a woman. And sometimes let them repeat what they have heard in the
marble theatres; and sometimes the songs attuned to the measures of the
Nile. 1058 Neither, in my way of
thinking, ought a clever woman to be ignorant how to hold the plectrum 1059
in her right hand, the lyre in her left. Orpheus of Rhodope with his lyre
moved rocks, and wild beasts, and the lakes of Tartarus, and Cerberus the
triple dog. At thy singing, most righteous avenger of thy mother, 1060
the attentive stones built up the walls. The fish, (the well-known story
of the lyre of Arion, 1061 although he was dumb, is
supposed to have been moved by his voice. Learn, too, to sweep the chords
of the festive psaltery 1062 with your two hands; ’tis an
instrument suited to amorous lays.
Let the songs of Callimachus 1063 be
known to you, let those of the poet of Cos, 1064 let
the Teian Muse too, of the drunken old bard. Let Sappho, too, be well
known; for what is there more exciting than she? Or than him, through whom
the father is deceived by the tricks of the crafty Geta? You may, too,
have read the poems of the tender Propertius, 1066 or
something of Gallus, or thy works, Tibullus. 1067 The
fleece, too, so bewailed, O Phryxus, of thy sister, shining with its
yellow hair, celebrated by Varro. 1068 The
exiled Æneas, as well, the first origin of lofty Rome, 1069
than which no work exists in Latium of greater fame.
Perhaps, too, my name will be mingled among these, and my writings will
not be consigned to the waters of Lethe. And people will one day say,
“Read the elegant lines of our master, in which he instructs the two
sides. 1070 Or of his three books, which
the title designates as, ‘The Amours,’ choose a portion to read with
skilful lips, in a languishing way. Or let his Epistles be repeated by you
with well-modulated voice; this kind of composition, 1071
unknown to others, did he invent.” O Phoebus, mayst thou so will it; so
too, ye benignant Divinities of the Poets, Bacchus, graceful with thy
horns, and you, ye nine Goddesses!
Who can doubt that I should wish the falr one to know how to dance, that,
the wine placed on table, she may move her arms in cadence, when
requested. Masters of posture, 1072 the
representations on the stage, are much valued; so much gracefulness does
that pliant art possess. I am ashamed to advise on trifling points, to
understand how to throw a cast of dice, and, thy value, the cube when
thrown. And now let her throw the three numbers; now let her consider, at
which number she can cleverly enter most conveniently, and which one she
must call for. 1073 And, with her skill, let her
play not amiss at the hostilities of the pieces; 1074 when
the single man perishes between his two enemies. How the warrior, too, 1075
wages the war when caught without his companion; and how the enemy full
oft retreats on the path on which he has begun. Let the smooth balls, 1076
too, be poured into the open net; and not a ball must be moved but the one
which you shall be lifting up. There is a kind of game, 1077
distributed into as many lines on a small scale, as the fleeting year
contains months. A little table receives 1078
three pebbles on each side, on which to bring one’s own into a straight
line, is to gain the victory.
Devise a thousand amusements. ‘Tis shocking for the fair one not to know
how to play; many a time, while playing, is love commenced. But the least
matter is how to use the throws to advantage; ’tis a task of greater
consequence to lay a restraint on one’s manners. While we are not
thinking, and are revealed by our very intentness, and, through the game,
our feelings, laid bare, are exposed; anger arises, a disgraceful failing,
and the greed for gain; quarrels, too, and strife, and, then, bitter
regrets. Recriminations are uttered; the air resounds with the brawl, and
every one for himself invokes the angry Divinities. There is no trusting
the tables, and, amid vows, new tables are called for; full oft, too, have
I seen cheeks wet with tears. May Jupiter avert from you indiscretions so
unbecoming, you, who have a care to be pleasing to any lover.
To the fair, has nature, in softer mood, assigned these amusements; with
materials more abundant do the men disport. They have both the flying
ball, 1080 and the javelin, and the
hoop, and arms, and the horse trained to go round the ring. No plain of
Mars receives you, nor does the spring of the Virgin, 1081
so intensely cold; nor does the Etrurian 1082
river carry you along with its smooth stream. But you are allowed, and it
is to your advantage, to go in the shade of Pompey’s Portico, at the time
when the head is heated by the steeds of the Constellation of the Virgin.
Frequent the Palatium, consecrated to the laurel-bearing Phoebus;’twas he
that overwhelmed in the deep the ships of Parsetonium. 1084
The memorials, also, which the Bister and the wife 1085 of
our Ruler have erected; his son-in-law 1086 too,
his head encircled with naval honors. Frequent the altars of the Memphian
heifer, 1087 that smoke with
frankincense; frequent the three Theatres, 1088 in
conspicuous positions. Let the sand, stained with the warm blood, have you
for spectators; the goal, also, to be passed with the glowing wheels. 1089
That which lies hid is unknown; for what is not known there is no desire.
All advantage is lost, when a pretty face is without one to see it. Were
you to excel even Thamyras 1090 and Amcebeus in your
singing, there would be no great regard for your lyre, while unknown. If
Apelles of Cos 1091 had never painted Venus, she
would have lain concealed beneath the ocean waves. What but fame alone is
sought by the hallowed Poets? The sum of all my labours has that crowning
object. In former days, Poets were 1092 the
care of rulers and of kings; and the choirs of old received great rewards.
Hallowed was the dignity, and venerable the name of the Poets; and upon
them great riches were often bestowed. Ennius, born in the mountains of
Calabria, was deemed worthy, great Scipio, to be placed near to thee. 1093
At the present day, the ivy lies abandoned, without any honor; and the
laborious anxiety that toils for the learned Muses, receives the
appellation of idleness.
But be it our study to lie on the watch for fame; who would have known of
Homer, if the Iliad, a never-dying work, had lain concealed? Who would
have known of Danâe, if she had been for ever shut up, and if, till an old
woman, she had continued concealed in her tower? The throng, ye beauteous
fair, is advantageous to you; turn your wandering steps full oft beyond
your thresholds. The she-wolf goes on her way to the many sheep, that she
may carry off but one; and the bird of Jove pounces down upon the many
birds. Let the handsome woman, too, present herself to be seen by the
public; out of so many, perhaps there will be one for her to attract. In
all places, let her ever be desirous to please; and, with all attention,
let her have a care for her charms. Chance is powerful everywhere; let
your hook be always hanging ready. In waters where you least think it,
there will be a fish. Many a time do the hounds wander in vain over the
woody mountains; and sometimes the stag falls in the toils, with no one to
pursue him. What was there for Andromeda, when bound, less to hope for,
than that her tears could possibly charm any one? Many a time, at the
funeral of a husband, is another husband found. To go with the tresses
dishevelled, and not to withhold your lamentations, is becoming.
But avoid those men who make dress and good looks their study; and who
arrange their locks, each in its own position. What they say to you, they
have repeated to a thousand damsels. Their love is roving, and remains
firm in no one spot. What is the woman to do, when the man, himself, is
still more effeminate, and himself perchance may have still more male
You will hardly believe me, but still, do believe me; Troy would have been
still remaining, if it had followed the advice of its own Priam. 1094
There are some men who range about, under a fictitious appearance of love,
and, by means of such introductions, seek disgraceful lucre. And do not
let the locks deceive you, shining much with the liquid nard; 1095
nor yet the narrow belt, 1096 pressed upon the folds of
their dress. Nor let the robe of finest texture beguile you; nor yet if
there shall be many and many a ring 1097 on
their fingers. Perhaps the best dressed of the number of these may be some
thief, 1098 and may be attracted by a
desire for your clothes. “Give me back my property!” full oft do the
plundered fair ones cry; “Give me back my property!” the whole Forum
resounding with their cries. Thou, Venus, 1099
unmoved, and you, ye Goddesses, 1101 Hear
the Appian way, from your temples blazing with plenteous gold, behold
these disputes. There are even certain names notorious by a reputation
that admits of no doubt; those females who have been deceived by many,
share the criminality of their favorites. Learn, then, from the complaints
of others, to have apprehensions for yourselves; and do not let your door
be open to the knavish man.
Refrain, Cecropian fair, from believing Theseus, 1102 when
he swears; the Gods whom he will make his witnesses, he has made so
before. And no trust is there left for thee, Demophoôn, heir to the
criminality of Theseus, since Phyllis has been deceived. If they are
lavish of their promises, in just as many words do you promise them; if
they give, do you, too, give the promised favours. That woman could
extinguish the watchful flames of Vesta, and could bear off the sacred
things, daughter of Inachus, 1103 from
thy temples, and could administer to her husband the aconite, mixed with
the pounded hemlock, if on receiving a present she could deny a favour.
My feelings are prompting me to go too close; check the rein, my Muse: and
be not hurled headlong by the wheels in their full career. Should lines,
written on the tablets made of fir, try the soundings; let a maid suited
for the duty take in the billets that are sent. Examine them; and collect
from the words themselves, whether he only pretends what you are reading,
or whether he entreats anxiously, and with sincerity. And after a short
delay, write an answer: delay ever stimulates those in love, if it lasts
only for a short time.
But neither do you make yourself too cheap to the youth who entreats, nor
yet refuse, with disdainful lips, what he is pressing for. Cause him both
to fear and to hope at the same moment; and oft as you refuse him, let
hopes more assured, and diminished apprehensions arise.
Write your words, ye fair, in a legible hand, but of common parlance, and
such as are usual; the recognized forms of language are most pleasing.—Ah!
how oft has the wavering lover been inflamed by a letter, and how oft has
uncouth language proved detrimental to, a graceful form! But since,
although you are without the honors of the fillet of chastity, it is still
your care to deceive your husbands; 1104 let
the skilled hand of a maid, or of a boy, carry the tablets, and don’t
entrust your pledges to some unknown youth. I myself have seen the fair
pale with terror on that account, enduring, in their misery, servitude to
all future time. Perfidious, indeed, is he who retains such pledges: but
still in them he has power equal to the lightnings of Ætna.
In my opinion deceit is allowable, for the purpose of repelling deceit;
and the laws permit us to take up arms against the armed. One hand should
be accustomed to write in numerous styles. Perdition to those, through
whom this advice must be given by me! Nor is it safe to write, except when
the wax is quite smoothed over; so that the same tablet may not contain
two hands. 1105 Let your lover be always
styled a female when you write; in your billets let that be “she,” which
really is “he.”
But I wish to turn my attention from trifles to things of more
consequence, and with swelling canvass to expand my filling sails. It
conduces to good looks to restrain habits of anger. Fair peace becomes
human beings, savage fury wild beasts. With fury the features swell; with
blood the veins grow black; the eyes flash more wildly than the Gorgonian
fires. “Pipe, hence avaunt, 1106 thou
art not of so much worth to me,” said Pallas, when she saw her features in
the stream. You, too, if you were to look at your mirror in the midst of
your anger, hardly could any one distinctly recognize her own countenance.
And, in no less degree, let not a repulsive haughtiness sit upon your
features; by alluring eyes love must be enticed. Believe me, ye fair who
know it by experience, I hate immoderate conceit. Full oft do the features
in silence contain the germs of hatred. Look at him who looks on you;
smile sweetly in return to him who smiles. Does he nod at you; do you,
too, return the sign well understood. When the Boy Cupid has made these
preludes, laying aside his foils, he takes his sharp arrows from his
I hate the melancholy damsels too. Let Ajax be charmed with Tecmessa; 1107
us, a joyous throng, the cheerful woman captivates. Never should I have
asked thee, Andromache, nor thee, Tecmessa, that one of you would be my
mistress. I seem hardly ably to believe it, though by your fruitfulness I
am obliged to believe it, that you could have granted your favours to your
husbands. And could, forsooth, that most melancholy woman say to Ajax, “My
life!” and words which are wont to please the men?
What forbids me to apply illustrations from great matters to small ones,
and not to be standing in awe of the name of a general? To this person the
skilful general has entrusted a hundred to be ruled with the twig of vine;
to this one so many cavalry; to that one he has given the standard to
defend. Do you, too, consider, to what use each of us is suited, and class
each one in his assigned position. Let the rich man give his presents; let
him that professes the law, defend; the eloquent man may often plead the
cause of his client. We who compose verse, verses alone let us contribute.
This throng, before all others, is susceptible of love. Far and wide do we
herald the praises of the beauty that pleases us. Nemesis 1109
has fame; Cynthia, too, has fame. The West and the lands of the East know
of Lycoris: and many a one is enquiring who my Corinna is. Besides, all
deceit is wanting in the hallowed. Poets, and even our art contributes to
forming our manners. No ambition influences us, no love of gain; despising
the Courts, the couch and the shade are the objects of our commendation.
But we are easily attracted, and are consumed by a lasting heat; and we
know how to love with a constancy most enduring. Indeed, we have our
feelngs softened by the gentle art; and our manners are in conformity with
Be kind, ye fair, to the Aonian bards. In them there is inspiration, and
the Pierian maids show favour unto them. In us a Divinity exists: and we
have intercourse with the heavens. From the realms of the skies does that
inspiration proceed. ‘Tis a crime to look for a present from the learned
Poets. Ah wretched me! of this crime no fair one stands in dread. Still,
do act the dissemblers, and at the very first sight, do not be ravenous.
On seeing your nets, a new lover will stop short. But neither can the
rider manage with the same reins the horse which has but lately felt the
bridle, and that which is well-trained; nor yet must the same path be trod
by you in order to captivate the feelings that are steadied by years, and
The latter is raw, and now for the first time known in the camp of Love,
who, a tender prey, has reached your chamber; with you alone is he
acquainted; to you alone would he ever prove constant. Shun a rival; so
long as you alone shall possess him, you will be the conqueror. Both
sovereignties and love do not last long with one to share in them. The
other, the veteran soldier, will love you gradually, and with moderation;
and he will put up with much that will not be endured by the novice. He
will neither break down your door-posts, nor burn them with raging flames;
nor will he fly at the tender cheek of his mistress with his nails. He
will neither tear his own clothes, nor yet the clothes of the fair; nor
will her torn locks be a cause for grieving. These things befit boys, who
are heated with youthful years and with passion: the other, with tranquil
feelings, will put up with cruel wounds. With slowly consuming fires will
he smoulder, just like a damp torch; or like the wood that has been cut
down upon the mountain ridge. This passion is more sure; the former is
short-lived and more bounteous. With speedy hand do you pluck the fruit
that passes away.
Let all points be surrendered; the gates we have opened to the enemy, and
let confidence be placed in this perfidious betrayal. That which is easily
conceded, but badly supports a lasting passion. A repulse must now and
then be mingled with your joyous dalliance. Let him lie down before your
doors: “Cruel door!” let him exclaim; and let him do many a thing in
humble, many in threatening mood. The sweet we cannot endure; with bitter
potions we may be refreshed. Full oft does the bark perish, overwhelmed by
favouring gales. This it is that does not permit wives to be loved;
husbands have access to them, whenever they please. Shut your door, 1110
and let your porter say to you with surly lips, “You cannot come in,
desire will seize you as well, thus shut out.”
Now lay aside the blunted swords; let the battle be fought with sharpened
ones. And I doubt not but that I myself shall be aimed at with weapons of
my own furnishing. While the lover that has been captured only of late is
falling into your toils, let him hope that he alone has admission to your
chamber. But soon let him be aware of a rival, and a division of the
privileges of your favours. Remove these contrivances; and his passion
will grow effete. Then does the high-mettled courser run well, the
starting-place being opened, when he has both competitors to pass by, and
those for him to follow. Harshness rekindles the flame, even if gone out.
Myself to wit, I confess it, I do not love unless I am ill-used.
Still, the cause for grief should not be too manifest: and in his anxiety
he ought to suspect that there is more than what he actually knows. The
harsh supervision, too, of some feigned servant should excite him, and the
irksome watchfulness of a husband too severe. The pleasure that is enjoyed
in safety, is the least valued of all. Though you are more at liberty than
even Thais, 1111 still feign apprehensions.
Whereas you could do it far better by the door, admit him through the
window; and on your countenance show the signs of fear. Let the cunning
maid rush in, and exclaim, “We are undone!” and then do you hide the youth
in his fright in any spot. Still, an enjoyment without anxiety must be
interspersed with his alarms; lest he should not think your favours to be
worth so much trouble.
But I was about to omit by what methods the cunning husband may be eluded,
and how the watchful keeper. Let the wife stand in awe of her husband; let
the safe keeping of a wife be allowed. That is proper; that the laws, and
justice, and decency ordain. But for you as well to be watched, whom the
Lictor’s rod 1112 has but just set at liberty,
who can endure it? Come to my sacred rites, that you may learn how to
deceive. Even if as many eyes shall be watching you, as Argus had, if
there is only a fixed determination, you will deceive them all. And shall
a keeper, forsooth, hinder you from being able to write, when an
opportunity is given you for taking the bath? When a female confidant can
carry the note you have penned, which her broad girth 1113
can conceal in her warm bosom? When she can conceal the paper fastened to
her calf, and carry the tender note beneath her sandalled foot.
Should the keeper be proof against these contrivances; in place of
paper, let your confidant afford her shoulders; and upon her own person
let her carry your words. Letters, too, written in new milk, are safe and
escape the eye; touch them with powdered coals, and you will read them.
The writing, too, which is made with the stalk of wetted flax, 1114
will deceive, and the clean surface will bear the secret marks. The care
of watching a fair one fell to Acrisius; still, through his own fault, did
she make him a grandsire. What can a keeper do, when there are so many
Theatres in the City? When, eagerly she is a spectator of the harnessed
steeds? When she is sitting in attendance upon the sistra of the Pharian
heifer, and at the place where her male friends are forbidden to go?
While, too, the Good Goddess 1115
expels the gaze of males from her temples, except any that, perchance, she
bids to come: while, as the keeper watches outside the clothes of the
fair, the baths may in safety conceal the lovers who are hiding there;
while, so often as is requisite, some pretended she-friend may be sick,
and, ill as she is, may give place for her in her couch. While the false
key, too, tells 1116 by its name what we are to
do, and it is not the door alone that gives the access you require.
The watchfulness of the keeper is eluded by plenty of wine; even though 1117
the grapes be gathered on the hills of Spain. There are drugs, too, which
create deep sleep; and let them close the eyes overpowered by Lethæan
night. And not amiss does the confidant occupy the troublesome fellow with
dalliance to create delay, and in his company spins out the time.
What need is there to be teaching stratagems and trifling precepts, when
the keeper may be purchased by the smallest present? Believe me, presents
influence both men and Gods: on gifts being presented, Jupiter himself is
appeased. What is the wise man to do, when even the fool is gratified with
a present? The husband himself, on receiving a present, will be silent.
But once only throughout the long year must the keeper be bought; full oft
will he hold out the hand which he has once extended.
I complained, I recollect, that new-made friends are to be dreaded; that
complaint does not extend to men alone. If you are too trusting, other
women will interrupt your pleasures; and this hare of yours will be
destined to be hunted down by other persons. Even she, 1118
who so obligingly lends her couch and her room, believe me, has not once
only been in my company. And do not let too pretty a maid wait upon you;
many a time has she filled 1119 her mistress’s place for me.
Whither, in my folly, am I led on? Why with bared breast do I strive
against the foe, and why, myself, am I betrayed through information that
is my own? The bird does not instruct the fowler in which direction he may
be taken: the hind does not teach the hostile hounds how to run. Still,
let interest see to itself; my precepts, with fidelity will I give. To the
Lemnian dames, 1120 for my own destruction, will
I present the sword.
Give reason (and ’tis easy to do so) for us to believe ourselves to be
loved. Belief arises readily in those who are anxious for the fulfilment
of their desires. Let the fair one eye the youth in a kindly manner; let
her heave sighs from her very heart, and let her enquire, why it is he
comes so late? Let tears be added, too, and feigned apprehensions about a
rival, and with her fingers let her tear her face. Soon will he be
thoroughly persuaded, one? he will pity you of his own accord; and will
say to himself “This woman is consumed by affection for me.” Especially,
if he shall be well drest, and shall please himself at the looking-glass,
he will believe that the Goddesses might be touched with love for him.
But, whoever you are, let an injury disturb you only in a moderate degree;
and don’t, on hearing of a rival, go out of your mind. And don’t at once
believe it; how injurious it is at once to believe things, Procris will be
no slight proof to you.
There is near the empurpled hills of blooming Hymettus a sacred spring,
and the ground is soft with the verdant turf. The wood, of no great
height, there forms a grove; the strawberry tree overshadows the grass;
rosemary, and laurels, and swarthy myrtles give their perfume. Neither the
box-trees with their thick foliage and the slender tamarisks, nor yet the
tiny trefoil and the garden pine, are wanting there. Moved by the gentle
Zephyrs and the balmy air, the leaves of these many kinds, and the tops of
the grass quiver. Pleasant was this retreat to Cephalus; 1121
his servants and his hounds left behind, the youth, when weary, often sat
down in this spot. And here he was in the habit of repeating, “Come,
gentle Aura [breeze], to be received in my bosom, that thou mayst moderate
Some person, maliciously officious, with retentive lips carried the words
he had heard to the timid ears of his wife. Procris, when she heard the
name of Aura [breeze], as though of a rival, fainted away, and with this
sudden apprehension she was mute. She turned pale, just as the late leaves
become wan, which the coming winter has nipped, the clusters now gathered
from the vine; and as the quinces 1122
which in their ripeness are bending their boughs; and as the cornels not
yet quite fit for food for man. When her senses had returned, she tore her
thin garments from off her body with her nails, and wounded her guiltless
cheeks. And no delay was there; raving, with dishevelled locks, she flew
amid the tracks, like a Bacchanal aroused by the thyrsus. When she had
come near the spot, she left her attendants in the valley; and with silent
footsteps, in her boldness, she herself stealthily entered the grove.
What, Procris, were thy feelings, when thus, in thy frenzy, thou didst he
concealed? What the impulse of thy disquieted breast? Each moment,
forsooth, wast thou expecting that she would come, whoever Aura might be,
and that their criminality would be witnessed with thine eyes.
Now dost thou repent of having come, for indeed thou wouldst not wish to
detect him; and now thou art glad; fluctuating affection is tormenting thy
breast. There is the spot, and the name, and the informant to bid thee
give credence; and the fact that the lover always apprehends that to exist
which he dreads. When she beheld the grass beaten down, the impress of his
body, her trembling bosom was throbbing with her palpitating heart. And
now midday had made the unsubstantial shadows small, and at an equal
distance were the evening and the morn. Behold! Cephalus, the offspring of
the Cyilenian God, 1123 returns from the woods, and
sprinkles his glowing face with water of the fountain. In thy anxiety,
Procris, art thou lying concealed. Along the grass he lies as wont, and
says, “Ye gentle Zephyrs, and thou Aura [breeze], come hither.” When the
welcome mistake of the name was thus revealed to the sorrowing fair, both
her senses and the real colour of her face returned.
She arose; and the wife, about to rush into the embrace of her husband, by
the moving of her body, shook the leaves that were in her way. He,
thinking that a wild beast had made the noise, with alacrity snatched up
his bow; his arrows were in his right hand. What, wretched man, art thou
about? ‘Tis no wild beast; keep still thy weapons. Ah wretched me! by thy
dart has the fair been pierced. “Ah me!” she cries aloud, “a loving heart
hast thou pierced. That spot has ever retained the wound inflicted by
Cephalus. Before my time I die, but injured by no rival; this, O Earth,
will make thee light when I am entombed. Now is my breath departing in the
breeze that I had thus suspected; I sink, alas! close my eyes with those
In his sorrowing bosom he supports the dying body of his spouse, and with
his tears he bathes her cruel wounds. Her breath departs; and gradually
fleeting from her senseless breast, her breath 1124 is
received into the mouth of her wretched husband.
But let us return to our path; I must deal with my subject undisguised,
that my wearied bark may reach its port. You may be waiting, in fact, for
me to escort you to the banquet, and may be requesting my advice in this
respect as well. Come late, and enter when the lights are brought in;
delay is a friend to passion; a very great stimulant is delay. Even should
you be ugly, to the tipsy you will appear charming: and night itself will
afford a concealment for your imperfections. Take up your food with your
fingers; 1125 the method of eating is
something; and do not besmear all your face with your dirty hand. And do
not first 1126 take food at home; but cease
to eat a little sooner than you could wish, and could have eaten. Had the
son of Priam seen Helen greedily devouring, he would have detested her;
and he would have said, “That prize of mine is an oaf.”
It is more proper and is more becoming for the fair to drink to excess.
Thou dost not, Bacchus, consort amiss with the son of Venus. This too,
only so far as the head will bear it, and the senses and the feet will be
able to perform their duty; 1127 and
do not see each object that is single, as double. A woman sprawling along,
and drenched in plenteous wine, is a disgusting object; she is worthy to
endure the embraces of any kind of fellows. And it is no safe thing when
the tables are removed to fall asleep; in sleep many a shocking thing is
wont to happen. I feel ashamed to instruct you any further, but genial
Dione says, “That which shames you is especially my own province.” Let
each particular then be known unto you:
——modos a corpore certos
Sumite; non omnes una figura decet.
Quse facie prsesignis eris, resupina jaceto:
Spectentur tergo, quîs sua terga placent.
Milanion humeris Atalantes crura ferebat:
Si bona sunt, hoc sunt accipienda modo.
Parva vehatur equo: quod erat longissima, nunquarc
Thebais Hectoreo nupta resedit equo.
Strata premat genibus, paulum cervice reflexâ,
Foemina, per longum conspicienda latus.
Cui femur est juvenile, carent cui pectora mendâ,
Stet vir, in obliquo fusa sit ipsa toro.
Nec tibi turpe puta crinem, ut Phylleia mater,
Solvere: et effusis colla reflecte comis.
Tu quoque, cui rugis uterum Lucina notavit,
Ut celer aversis utere Parthus equis.
Mille modi Veneris. Simplex minimique laboris,
Cum jacet in dextrum semisupina latus,
Sed neque Phoebei tripodes, nec comiger Ammon,
Vera raagis vobis, quam mea Musa, canent.
Si qua fides arti, “quam longo fecimus usu,
Crédité: præstabunt carmiua nostra fidem.
Sentiat ex imis Yenerem resoluta medullis
Foemina: et ex æquo res juvet ilia duos.
Nec blandæ voces, jucundaque murmura cessent;
Nec taceant medus improba verba jocis.
Tu quoque, cui Yeneris sensum natura negavit,
Dulcia mendaci gaudia finge sono.
Infelix, cui torpet hebes locus ille, puella es;
Quo pariter debent foemina virque frui.
Tantum, cum linges, ne sis manifesta caveto:
Effice per motum luminaque ipsa fidem.
Quod juvet: et voces et anhelitus arguat oris.
Ah pudet! arcanas pars habet ista notas.
Gaudia post Yeneris quæ poscet munus amantem,
Ipsa suas nolet pondus habere preces.
And admit not the light in your chamber with the windows wide open; many
blemishes of your person more becomingly lie concealed.
My pastime draws to a close; ’tis time to descend from the swans, 1128
that have borne my yoke upon their necks. As once the youths did, so now
the fair, as my audience, may inscribe, “Naso was our preceptor,” upon
FOOTNOTES BOOK ONE
[ For stripes.—Ver.
16. Statius, in the Thebaid, mentions the strictness of the discipline of
Chiron. See the Amores, i. El. xiii. 1. 18.]
[ Be ye afar.—Ver.
31. He quotes this and the following line in the Tristia, Book ii. 1. 248,
to show that it was not his intention, by his precepts, to inculcate
breaches of chastity among the Roman matrons. See the Note to the passage,
and to the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 30. The ‘vitta,’ or ‘fillet,’ was worn
solely by women of pure character.]
[ The tawny Indians.—Ver.
53. Herodotus considers the Æthiopians to be Indians. According to some,
the father of Andromeda was king of Ethiopia; but she is more frequently
represented as a native of Joppa, on the coast of Syria.]
[ As many stars as.—Ver.
59. Heinsius considers this and the next line to be spurious.]
[ Wish a riper fair.—Ver.
63. ‘Juvenis,’ applied to a female, would mean something more than a mere
girl. ‘Juventus’ was that age in which a person was in his best years,
from about twenty to forty.]
[ Pompey’s Portico.—Ver.
67. He alludes to the Portico which had been erected by Pompey at Rome,
and was shaded by plane trees and refreshed by fountains. The Porticos
were walks covered with roofs, supported by columns. They were sometimes
attached to other buildings, and sometimes were independent of any other
edifice. They were much resorted to by those who wished to take exercise
without exposure to the heat of the sun. The Porticos of the temples were
originally intended for the resort of persons who took part in the rites
performed there. Lawsuits were sometimes conducted in the Porticos of
Rome, and goods were sold there.]
[ The lion of Hercules.il—Ver.
68. The Nemean lion; which formed the Constellation Leo in the Zodiac.]
[ Where the mother.—Ver.
69. He alludes to the Theatre and Portico which Augustus built; the former
of which received the name of his nephew Marcellus, the latter of his
sister Octavia, the mother of Marcellus. After the death of Marcellus,
Octavia added a public library to this Portico at her own expense. Here
there were valuable paintings of Minerva, Philip and Alexander, and
Hercules on Mount Aeta. Some suppose that the temple of Concord, built by
Livia, and mentioned in the Fasti, is here referred to.]
[ The Portico of Livia.—Ver.
72. The Portico of Livia was near the street called Suburra. This Portico
is also mentioned in the Fasti. We learn from Strabo that it was near the
Via Sacra, or Sacred Street.]
[ Granddaughters of
Belus.—Ver. 73. This was the Portico of the Danaides, in the temple
of Apollo. It is referred to in the Second Elegy of the Second Book of the
[ Bewailed by Venus.—Ver.
75. He alludes to the temple of Venus, at Rome, which, according to
Juvenal, was notorious as the scene of intrigues and disgraceful
irregularities. It was a custom of the Romans, borrowed from the
Assyrians, to lament Adonis in the temple of Venus. See the Tenth Book of
the Metamorphoses. This worship of the Assyrians is mentioned by the
Prophet Ezekiel, chap. viii. ver. 13, ‘women weeping for Thatnmuz.’]
[ The Jew of Syria.—Ver.
76. He alludes to the rites performed in the Synagogues of the Jews of
Rome, on the Sabbath, to which numbers or females were attracted, probably
by the music. There were great numbers of Jews at Rome in the reign of
Augustus, who were allowed to follow their own worship, according to the
law of Moses. The Roman females visiting the Synagogues, assignations and
gross irregularities became the consequence. Tiberius withdrew this
privilege from the Jews, and ordered the priests’ vestments and ornaments
to be burnt. This line is thus rendered in Dryden’s version:
‘Nor shun the Jewish walk, where the foul drove,
On Sabbaths rest from everything but love.’
This wretched paraphrase is excused by the following very illiberal note,
‘If this version seems to bear a little hard on the ancient Jews, it does
not at all wrong the modern.’]
[ Many a woman.—Ver.
78. Io, or Isis, was debauched by Jupiter. Martial and Juvenal speak of
the irregularities practised on these occasions.]
[ Where the erection.—Ver.
81. He refers to the Forum of Cæsar and the temple of Venus, which was
built by Julius Cæsar after the battle of Pharsalia.]
[ Of Appius.—Ver.
82. He alludes to the aqueduct which had been constructed by the Censor
Appius. This passed into the City, through the Latin gate, and discharged
itself near the spot where the temple of Venus was built.]
[ Shooting stream.—Ver.
82; He alludes to the violence with which the water was discharged by the
pipes of the aqueduct into the reservoir.]
[ Which is adjoining.—Ver.
87. The temple of Venus was near the Forum.]
[ Ravished Sabine fair.—Ver.
102. See the Fasti, Book iii. 1. 199.]
[ Neither did curtains.—Ver.
103. The ‘vela,’ here referred to, may mean either the ‘siparia,’ or
curtains of the theatres, or the awnings which were hung over them. See
the Note on the ‘siparia’ of the theatres, referred to in the Third Book
of the Metamorphoses, L 111. The ‘velaria,’ or ‘awnings,’ were stretched
over the whole space of the theatres, to protect the spectators from the
sun and rain.]
[ Marble theatre.—Ver.
103. The Theatres of Pompey and Scaurus were of marble.]
[ Nor was the stage.—Ver.
104. The ‘pulpita’ was that part of the stage where the actors stood who
spoke. It was elevated above the orchestra, where the Chorus, and dancers
and musicians were placed.]
[ Upon the maidens.—Ver.
116. Some writers say that only thirty women were carried off. Valerius
Antius made the number 427, and Plutarch mentions a statement that it was
[ The partition.—Ver.
141. See the Amores, Book iii. El. ii. 1. 19.]
[ Let the usual subjects.—Ver.
144. ‘Publica verba’ means the compliments of the day,’ and the ‘topics
suited to the occasion.’]
[ Statues of ivory.—Ver.
149. For an account of this procession, see the Amores, Book iii. El. ii.
[ Your fingers.—Ver.
150. See 1. 42, of the same Elegy.]
[ Dirty ground.—Ver.
154. See 1. 26, of the same Elegy.]
[ Knee against it.—Ver.
158. See 1. 24, of the same Elegy.]
[ With his ready hand.—Ver.
160. As the seats of the Circus were hard, the women often made use of a
cushion to sit upon. Those who were not so fortunate as to get a front
seat, and so rest their feet in the railings opposite (see the Second
Elegy of the Third Book of the Amores, 1. 64, and the Note), used a
footstool, ‘scamnum,’ (which is mentioned here in the 162nd line,) on
which they rested their feet.]
[ Its sad duties.—Ver.
164. Juvenal tells us that gladiatorial spectacles were sometimes
exhibited in the Forum.]
[ Himself receives a
wound.—Ver. 166. The word ‘habet,’ here used, is borrowed from the
usage at the gladiatorial games. When a gladiator was wounded, the people
called aloud ‘habet,’ or ‘hoc habet and the one who was vanquished lowered
his arms, in token of submission. If the people chose that he should be
saved, they pressed down their thumbs; but they turned them up, if they
desired that he should be killed.]
[ Asking for the racing
list.—Ver. 167. The ‘libellus,’ here mentioned, was the list of the
horses, with their names and colours, and those of the drivers. It served
the same purpose as the race-cards on our courses.]
[ Having deposited the
stake.—Ver. 168. When a bet was made, the parties betting gave to
each other a pledge, ‘pignus,’ in the shape of some trinket, such as a
ring. When the bet was completed, they touched hands.]
[ When of late.—Ver.
171. He speaks of a ‘Naumachia,’ or mimic sea-fight, which had been lately
exhibited at Rome by Augustus, in commemoration of the battle of Actium.
As Antony had collected his forces from the East and all parts of Greece,
his ships are alluded to as the Persian and Cecropian, or Athenian ships.
The term, ‘Naumachia,’ was applied both to the representation of a
sea-fight, and to the place where it was given. They were sometimes
exhibited in the Circus or Amphitheatre, the water being introduced
under-ground, but more generally in spots constructed for the purpose. The
first was shown by Julius Cæsar, who caused a lake to be dug for the
purpose in a part of the Campus Martius, which Suetonius calls ‘the lesser
Codeta.’ This was filled up by Augustus, who dug a lake near the Tiber for
the same purpose; to which, probably, reference is here made.]
172. ‘Induxit.’ By the use of this word, it would seem that Augustus Cæsar
introduced the ships, probably, from the river Tiber into the lake.]
[ See! Cæsar prepares.—Ver.
177. Augustus sent his grandson, Caius, the son of his daughter Julia and
Agrippa, to head an expedition against Phraates, the king of the
Parthians, the conquerors of Crassus; from this expedition he did not live
to return, but perished in battle.]
[ Crassi, rejoice.—Ver.
180. See the Fasti, Book v. 1. 583-8, with the Note. Also Book vi. 1. 465]
[ Of the Gods.—Ver.
183. In a spirit of adulation, he deifies Caius Cæsar, and his brother
[ First of the youths.—Ver.
194. The ‘princeps juvenum’ had the honour of riding first, in the review
of the Equestrian ranks by the Emperor. See the Tristia, Book ii. 1. 90.
Caius did not live to fulfil this prophecy, as he was slain through the
perfidy of the Parthian general.]
[ Since thou hast
brothers.—Ver. 195. He alludes, probably, to Lucius Cæsar, the other
grandson of Augustus, and Marcus Agrippa, the husband of Julia, the
daughter of Augustus.]
[ Hast a sire.—Ver.
196. He had been adopted by Augustus. *What rivers are borne.—Ver.
220. See the twentieth line of the Second Elegy, Book iv. of the Tristia.
* Perfectly well.—Ver. 222. See a similar passage in the Tristia’
Book iv. EL ii. 1. 24.]
[ The Euphrates.—Ver.
223. The rivers were generally personified by the ancients as being
crowned with reeds.]
[ The one whose.—Ver.
224. The young man is supposed to be addressing the damsel in these
[ From Danaë.—Ver.
225. He means, that Persia was so called from Perses, the son of
Andromeda, by Perseus, the son of Danaë. It is more generally thought to
have been so called from a word signifying; a horse.’ Achæmenes was one of
the ancient kings of Persia.]
[ Still it is fatal.—Ver.
236. ‘Solet,’ ‘is wont,’ is certainly a pre-narrative reading here to
[ Deceiving lamp.—Ver.
245. This is as much as to remind him of the adage that women and linen
look best by candle-light.]
[ Why mention Baiæ.—Ver.
255. Baiæ was a town on the sea-shore, near Naples, famous for its hot
baths. It was delightfully situate, and here Pompey, Caesar, and many of
the wealthy Romans, had country seats: Seneca and Propertius refer to it
as famous for its debaucheries, and it was much frequented by persons of
loose character. It was the custom at Baiæ, in the summer-time, for both
sexes to cruise about the shore in boats of various colours, both in the
day-time and at night, with sumptuous feasts and bands of music on board.]
[ Hostile hand.—Ver.
260. See the Fasti, Book iii. 1. 263. He means that the Arician grove was
much resorted to by those engaged in courtship tad intrigues.]
[ Borne upon unequal
wheels.—Ver. 264. He alludes to Thalia, the Muse who inspires him,
preferring the unequal or Hexameter and Pentameter measure of Elegiac
[ By the lark.—Ver.
286. See the Metamorphoses, Book x.]
[ Of Cydon.’—Ver.
293. This was a city of Crete.]
[ Untruthful as it is.—Ver.
298. The Cretans were universally noted in ancient times for their
disregard for truth. St. Paul, in his Epistle to Titus, ch. i. ver, 12,
says, quoting from the Cretan poet Epimenides “One of themselves, even a
prophet of their own, said, ‘The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts,
slow bellies.’ This witness is true.”]
[ By a bull!—Ver.
302. See this story explained in the Translation of the Metamorphoses, p.
[ The sire.—Ver.
326. This was the Minotaur. See the Metamorphoses, Book viii]
[ If the Cretan dame.—Ver.
327. This was Ærope, the wife of Atreus, who slew the children of his
brother Thyestes, and set them on table before their father.]
[ Who spoiled.—-Ver.
331. He falls into his usual mistake of confounding Scylla, the daughter
of Nisus, with the daughter of Phorcys.]
[ The flames.—Ver.
335. See the Metamorphoses, Book vii. 1. 391, and the Epistle of Medea to
[ The son of Amyntor.—Ver.
337. Phoenix, the son of Amyntor, according to Homer, became blind in his
latter years. See the Note to the 307th line of the Eighth Book of the
[ Of thy guiltless sons.—Ver.
339. Phineus was a king of Arcadia, or, according to some, of Thrace or
Paphlagonia. His wife, Cleopatra, being dead or divorced, he married a
Scythian, named Harpalice, at whose suggestion he put out the eyes of his
sons by Cleopatra. He was persecuted by the Harpies, as a punishment.]
[ What is one’s own.—Ver.
348. ‘Suis’ seems preferable here to suos.’]
[ The crop.—Ver.
349. These lines are referred to by Juvenal in the Fourteenth Satire,
[ Your access easy.—Ver.
352. See his address to Nape, in the Amores, Book i. El. ii. Cypassis
seems to have been a choice specimen of this class. See the Amores, Book
ii. El. viii.]
[ Pay him in return.’—Ver.
370. This seems to mean, ‘I do not think you can make sufficient return
for his ardent affection,’ referring to the lover. Some of the
Commentators think that it signifies a hint from the servant, that as her
mistress’s husband has offended her by his infidelities, she ought to
repay him in his own coin.]
[ Is of use.—Ver.
375. This abominable notion seems to have been acted upon by the Poet
himself. See the Amores, Book ii. El. viii.]
[ Her birthday.—Ver.
405. See the Amores, Book i. El. viii. 1. 94.]
[ Whether the Calends.—Ver.
405. The Matronalia were celebrated on the first day of the Calends of
March. It was usual on that day, for husbands to make presents to their
wives, and lovers to the objects of their affection. The Calends of March
preceded April, which month was sacred to Venus. See the Fasti, Book iii.
[ The wealth of kings.—Ver.
408. It was the custom to bring the spoils of the enemy, or the most
curious portions of it, to Rome, where it was exposed to view in the
Circus and the Theatres. Ovid tells his readers that they must not think
that the ladies can give them any of their leisure on such occasions, as,
being so much engaged with the sights, they will have no time for
[ Pleiades prevail.—Ver.
409. This is said figuratively.]
[ Tearful Allia.—Ver.
413. The 16th of July, the day on which the Romans were defeated by the
Gauls at the Allia, was deemed unlucky, and no business was transacted on
[ A day not suited for.—Ver.
415. The Jews are here alluded to. and he refers to their Sabbath. How
some Commentators can have dreamed that the feast of the Saturnalia is
referred to, it is hard to say.]
[ Great must be.—Ver.
417. The meaning is, ‘Be careful not to make your first advances on the
birthday of your mistress, as that is the time for making presents, and
you will certainly be out of pocket.’ See the Amores, Book i. El. viii. 1.
94, and the Note.]
[ The loosely-clad
pedlar.—Ver. 421. Institor’ was properly a person who sold wares,
and kept a ‘taberna’ or ‘shop’ on account of another. Sometimes free
persons, but more frequently slaves, were ‘institores.’]
[ A promissory note.—Ver.
428. ‘Syngraphus/ or ‘syngrapha,’ was a ‘bill’ ‘bond,’ or ‘promissory
note,’ which was most probably the kind of writing that the pedlar would
here require. It may possibly mean a cheque upon his bankers, the
‘argentarii’ of Rome.]
[ Not to have learned.—Ver.
428. The reading here seems to be non didicisse juvat.’ 4 It is not to
your advantage that you have learned (to write).’ The other reading, ‘ne
didicisse juvet,’ may be rendered, ‘(perhaps) it may be no advantage that
you have learned (to write).’]
[ Birth day cake.—Ver.
429. See the Amores, Book i. El. viii. 1. 94.]
[ The jewel.—Ver.
432. For an account of the earrings of the ancients, see the Notes to the
Metamorphoses, Book x. 1. 116.]
[ Should you give her.—Ver.
447. The meaning of this and the following line is very obscure; so much
so that Burmann is in doubt on the subject. It, however, seems to be, that
it is not discreet, on first acquaintance, to give presents, as the damsel
may then have a reason for peremptoily giving you up; she carries off your
gift, and gives no favour in return.]
[ Upon an apple.—Ver.
457: See the twentieth and twenty-first Epistles in the present volume.]
[ Extend their hands.—Ver.
462. This figure is taken from the gladiatorial games, where the conquered
extended their hands in token of submission.]
[ Ring of iron.—Ver.
473. The rings worn by the lower classes were of iron.]
[ Under some of the
columns.1—Ver. 490. The learned Heinsius absolutely thinks that
‘columnas’ here means ‘mile-stones’! It is pretty clear that Ovid alludes
to the columns of the Portico; and he seems to say, that the attentive
lover, when he sees the damsel at some distance before him, is not to
hesitate to escape the crowd by going into the open space outside of the
columns, and then running on, for the purpose of overtaking her. See the
Tristia, Book iii. El. iii, where he makes mention of the columns in the
Portico of the Danaides.]
[ Actor is dancing.—Ver.
501. See the Tristia, Book ii. i. 497.]
[ With the irons.’—Ver.
505. See the Amores, Book i. El. xiv 1 25, and the Note. The effeminate
among the Romans were very fond of having their hair in curls.]
[ With the rough pumice.—Ver.
506. Pliny the Elder mentions pumice stone as ‘a substance used by women
in washing their bodies, and now by men as well.’ Persius, in his Fourth
Satire, inveighs against this effeminate practice.]
[ Bid those do this.—Ver.
507′. He alludes to the Galli, the eunuch priests of Cybele.]
511. Phædra, in her Epistle, alludes to his neglect of dress, as one of
the merits of Hippolytus.]
[ Plain of Mars.—Ver.
513. The Roman youth practised wrestling, and other athletic exercises, on
the Campus Martius Being often stripped naked, or nearly so, the oil,
combined with t he heat, would tend to bronze the skin.]
[ Not be clammy.—Ver.
515. Probably this is the meaning of ‘lingua ne rigeat,’ although Nisard’s
French translation has it, ‘let your tongue have no roughness.’ Dryden’s
translation is, of course, of no assistance, as it carefully avoids all
the difficult passages.]
[ The father of the
flock.—Ver. 522. He alludes to the rank smell to the arm-pits, which
the Romans called by the name ‘hircus,’ ‘a goat,’ from a supposed
similarity to the strong smell of that animal.]
[ Awaking from her sleep.—Ver.
529. See the Epistle of Ariadne to Theseus.]
[ Mimallonian females.—Ver.
541. It is a matter of doubt why the Bacchanalian women were called
Mimallonides. According to some, they are so called from Mimas, a mountain
of Asia Minor, where the rites of Bacchus were celebrated. Suidas says
that they are so called, from ‘imitation,’ because they imitated the
actions of men. Bochart thinks that the word is of Hebrew origin, and that
they receive their name from ‘memelleran,’ ‘garrulous’ or ‘noisy’; or else
from mamal,’ a ‘wine- press.’]
[ Drunken old man.—Ver.
543. See the adventure of Silenus, in the beginning of Book xi. of the
Metamorphoses; and in the Fasti, Book iii. 1. 742. He seems to have been
always getting into trouble.]
[ Cretan Diadem.—Ver.
558. See the Fasti. Book iii. 1. 516.]
[ Evie, Evoë!—Ver.
563. In the combat with the Giants, Jupiter is said, when one of them was
slain by Bacchus, to have exclaimed ‘Well done, son:’ whence the
exclamation ‘Evie!’ was said to have originated. See the Metamorchoses,
Book iv. 1. 11 and 15, and the Note.]
[ On the table.’—Ver.
572. See the Epistle of Paris to Helen; and the Amores, Book i. El. iv. 1.
20, and Book ii. El. v. 1. 17, and the Notes.]
[ From the side.—Ver.
576. See the Amores, Book i. EL iv. 1. 32.]
[ Touched with her
fingers.—Ver. 577. The ancients are supposed not to have used at
meals any implement such as a knife or fork, but merely to have used the
fingers only, except in eating soups or other liquids, or jellies, when
they employed spoons, which were denoted by the names ‘cochlear’ and
‘ligula.’ At meals the Greeks wiped their fingers on pieces of bread; the
Romans washed them with water, and dried them on napkins handed round by
[ Are drinking by lot.—Ver.
581. The ‘modimperator,’ or ‘master of the banquet,’ was often chosen by
lot by the guests, and it was his province to prescribe how much each
person should drink. Lots were also thrown, by means of the dice, to show
in what order each person was to drink. This passage will show the falsity
of his plea in the Second Book of the Tristia, addressed to Augustus,
where he says that it was not his intention to address the married women
of Rome, but only those who did not wear the ‘vittæ’ and the ‘instita,’
the badges of chastity.]
[ Agent attends even too
much.—Ver. 587. His meaning seems to be, that in the same way as the
agent does more than attend to the injunctions of his principal, and puts
himself in a position to profit by his office, so is the inamorato,
through the confidence of the husband reposed in him, to make a profit
that has never been anticipated.]
593. At the nuptials of Pirithous and Hippoda-mia. See the Metamorphoses,
Book xii. 1. 220, where he is called Eurytus.]
[ Stealing up.—Ver.
605. This piece of impudence he professes to practise in the Amores, Book
i. El iv. l. 56.]
[ Bird of Juno.—Ver.
627. This fact, in natural history, was probably known only to Ovid, or
the peacocks of the present day may be less vain than the Roman ones. See
the Metamorphoses, Book i. 1. 723.]
[ That there should be
Gods.—Ver. 637. This was the avowed opinion of some of the
philosophers and atheists of antiquity. We learn from Tertullian that
Diogenes, being asked if the Gods exist, answered that he did not know
anything about it, but that they ought to exist. The doctrine of the
Epicureans was, that the Gods lived a happy and easy life, were not
susceptible of anger, and did not trouble themselves about men.]
[ Went to Busiris.—Ver.
649. See the Tristia, Book iii. El. xi. 1. 39, where the story of Phalaris
is also referred to. Thrasius was the brother of Pygmalion, and was justly
punished by Busiris for his cruel suggestion.]
[ Phoebe suffered—Ver.
679. See the story of the rape of Phoebe, by Castor and Pollux, in the
Fasti, Book v. 1. 699.]
693. See the Note to the seventy-third line of the Ninth Epistle.]
[ Heroines of olden
times.—Ver. 713. Such as Danaë, Europa Seraele, Alcmena, Io,
Calisto, Antiope, Maia, Electra, and others.]
[ Chaplet of Pallas.—Ver.
727. A crown of olive was presented to the victors in the athletic
exercises at the Olympic games.]
[ Love for Lyrice.—Ver.
731. If Lyrice here is a female name, it is not known who she was.]
732. He was a Sicilian, the son of Mercury; and the inventor of Bucolic
745: Hermione was the wife of Orestes, the friend of Pylades.]
[ With a dart.—Ver.
763. It appears by this, that it was the custom to take fish by striking
them with a javelin Salmon ere foretimes caught in a similar manner at the
FOOTNOTES BOOK TWO
[ Sing, ‘Io Pean.’—Ver.
1. This was the usual cry of the hunters, who thus addressed Apollo, the
God of the chase, when the prey had been captured iu the toils. See the
Metamorphoses, Book iv. 1. 513.]
[ Amyclæ.—Ver. 5. A
town of Laconia. See the Metamorphoses, Book x. 1. 219, and the Note.]
[ Erato.—Ver. 16.
He addresses himself to this Muse, as her name was derived from the Greek
‘love.’ It has been suggested that he had another reason for addressing
her, as she was thought to take pleasure in warfare, a state which
sometimes, by way of variety, exists between lovers.]
[ A bold path.—Ver.
22. This story is again related in the Eighth Book of the Metamorphoses.]
[ Like oars.—Ver.
45. He aptly compares the arrangement of the main feathers of a wing to a
row of oars.]
[ Orion.’—Ver. 56.
So in the Metamorphoses, Book v. 1. 206, he says to his son Icarus, ‘Fly
between both: and I bid thee neither to look at Bootes, nor Helice, nor
the drawn sword of Orion.’]
[ Is angling.—Ver.
77. There is a similar passage in the Metamorphoses, 1. 216.]
[ The Clarian God.—Ver.
80. See the Fasti, Book i. 1. 20, and the Note.]
[ And Calymne.—Ver.
81. These peaces are mentioned in the corresponding passages in the
Metamorphoses, Book viii. 1. 222.]
82. This was an isle in the group of the Sporades, between Crete and the
Cyclades. It contained but one city, and was long and narrow, and of
[ The young horse.—Ver.
100. See the Amoves. Book i. El. viii 1. 8, and the Note.]
[ The Marsian spells.—Ver.
102. The ‘naenia’ was a mournful dirge or chaunt uttered by the sorcerer
in his incantations. On the Marsi, see the Sixth Book of the Fasti, 1.
142, and the Note to the passage.]
[ Causing paleness.—Ver.
105. Philtres were noxious potions, made of venomous or stimulating
ingredients, prescribed as a means of gaining the affections of the person
to whom they were administered.]
[ Nireus.—Ver. 109.
See the Pontic Epistles, Book iv. Ep. xiii. 1. 16, and the Note to the
[ Charming Hylas.—Ver.
110. See the Tristia, Book ii. 1.]
[ Ocean Goddesses.—Ver.
124. Calypso was really the only sea Goddess that was enamoured of
Ulysses. Circe was not a sea Goddess.]
[ Blood of Dolon.’—Ver.
135. See the Metamorphoses, Book xiii. line 244.]
[ Hjemontan horses—Ver.
136. The steeds of Achilles.]
[ The Chaonian bird.—Ver.
150. Chaonia was a district of Epirus, said to have been so called from
Chaon, a Trojan. Dodona was in Epirus, and in its forests were said to be
doves that had the gift of prophecy. See the Translation of the
Metamorphoses pp. 467-8.]
[ Resort to law.—Ver.
151. He means to say ‘let man and wife be always thinking about resorting
to law to procure a divorce.’]
[ 1 gave verses.—Ver.
166. He intends a pun here. ‘Verba dare’ is ‘to deceive,’ but literally it
means ‘to give words.’ See the Amores, book i. El. viii. 1. 57.]
[ Atalanta of Nonacris.—Ver.
185. See the Amores, Book iii. El. ii. 29, and the Note.]
[ Bow of Hylceus.—Ver.
191. Hylæus and Rhæcus were Centaurs, who were pierced by Atalanta with
her arrows, for making an attempt on her chastity. He alludes to the bow
of Cupid in the next line.]
[ The ivory cubes.’—Ver.
203. He alludes to throws of the ‘tali’ and ‘tessera,’ which were
different kinds of dice. See the Note to 1. Footnote 471: of the Second
Book of the Tristia. In this line he seems to mean the ‘tessera,’ which
were similar to our dice, while the ‘tali,’ which he next mentions, had
only four flat surfaces, being made in imitation of the knuckle-bones of
animals, and having two sides uneven and rounded. The dice were thrown on
a table, made for the purpose, with an elevated rim. Some throws, like our
doublets, are supposed to have counted for more than the number turned up.
The most fortunate throw was called ‘Venus.’ or ‘Venereus jactus’; it is
thought to have consisted of a combination, making fourteen, the dice
presenting different numbers. Games with dice were only sanctioned by law
as a pastime during meals.]
[ Make bad moves.—Ver.
204. ‘Dare jacta’ means ‘to move the throws,’ in allusion to the game of
‘duodecim scripta,’ or ‘twelve points,’ which was played with counters
moved according to the throws of the dice, probably in a manner not unlike
our game of backgammon. The hoard was marked with twelve lines, on which
the pieces moved.]
[ Or if you are throwing.—Ver.
205. By the use of the word ‘seu, or,’ we must suppose that he has, under
the word ‘numeri,’ alluded to the game with the ‘tesseræ,’ or six-sided
[ The game that imitates.—Ver.
207. He here alludes to the ‘ludus latrunculorum,’ literally ‘the game of
theft,’ which is supposed to have been somewhat similar to our chess. He
refers to its name in the words, ‘latrocinii sub imagine.’ The game was
supposed to imitate the furtive stratagems of warfare: hence the men,
which were usually styled ‘calculi,’ were also called by the name of
‘latrones,’ ‘latrunculi,’ ‘milites,’ ‘bella-tores,’ ‘thieves,’ ‘little
thieves,’ ‘soldiers,’ ‘warriors.’ As we see by the next line, they were
usually made of glass, though sometimes more costly materials were
employed. The skill of this game consisted either in taking the pieces of
the adversary, or rendering them unable to move. The first was done when
the adversary’s piece was brought by the other between two of his own. See
the Tristia, Book ii. 1.477. The second took place when the pieces were
‘ligati,’ or ‘ad incitas redacti,’ brought upon the last line and unable
to move. White and red are supposed to have been the colour of the men.
This game was much played by the Roman ladies and nobles.]
[ Hold the screen.—Ver.
209. The ancients used ‘umbracula,’ or screens against the weather
(resembling our umbrellas), which the Greeks called ————.
They were used generally for the same purposes as our parasols, a
protection against the heat of the sun. They seem not to have been in
general carried by the ladies themselves, but by female slaves, who held
them over their mistresses. See the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 209. These screens,
or umbrellas, were much used by the Roman ladies in the amphitheatre, to
protect them from sun and rain, when the ‘velarium,’ or awning, was not
[ Tasteful couch.’—Ver.
211. This was probably the ‘triclinium’ on which they reposed at meals.
The shoes were taken off before reclining on it. Female slaves did this
office for the ladies, and males for the men.]
216. These were generally held by female slaves, when used by their
mistresses. See the Metamorphoses, Book iv. 1. 349. and the Note.]
[ Held the work-basket.—Ver.
219. Hercules, who Wiled the serpents sent by Juno, is reproached for
doing this, by Deianira in her Epistle.]
[ As though a servant.—Ver.
228. He is to be ready, if his mistress goes to a party, to act the part
of the slave, who was called ‘adversitor,’ whose duty it was to escort his
master home in the evening, if it was dark, with a lighted torch.]
[ A vehicle.—Ver.
230. ‘Rota,’ a wheel, is, by Synecdoche, used to signify ‘a vehicle.’]
240. See the Note to line 51, of the Epistle from Aenone to Paris.]
[ Through the open roof.—Ver.
245. He gives a somewhat hazardous piece of advice here; as he instructs
him to obtain admission by climbing up the wall, and getting in at the
skylight, which extended over the ‘atrium,’ or ‘court,’ a room which
occupied the middle of the house. The Roman houses had, in general, but
one story over the ground-floor.]
[ The high window.—Ver.
246. This passage may be illustrated by the Note to 1. 752: of Book xiv.
of the Metamorphoses.]
[ Day on which.—Ver.
257. He alluded to a festival celebrated by the servants, on the Caprotine
Nones, the seventh of July, when they sacrificed to ‘Juno Caprotina.’
Macrobius says that the servants sacrificed to Juno under a wild fig-tree
(called ‘caprificus’), in memory of the service done by the female slaves,
in exposing themselves to the lust ot the enemy, for the public welfare.
The Gauls being driven from the city, the neighbouring nations chose the
Dictator of the Fidenates for their chief, and, marching to Rome, demanded
of the Senate, that if they would save their city, they should send out to
them their wives and daughters The Senate, knowing their own weakness,
were much perplexed, when a handmaid, named ‘Tutela,’ or ‘Philotis,’
offered, with some others, to go out to the enemy in disguise. Being,
accordingly, dressed like free women, they repaired in tears to the camp
of the enemy. They soon induced their new acquaintances to drink, on the
pretence that they were bound to consider the day as a festival; and when
intoxicated, a signal was giver, from a fig tree near, that the Romans
should fall on them. The camp of the enemy was assailed, and most of them
were slain. In return for their service, the female, slaves were made
free, and received marriage portion? at the public expense. Another
account, agreeing with the present passage, says, that the Gauls were the
enemy who made the demand, and that Retana was the name of the female
[ The lower classes.—Ver.
259. Witness his own appeals in the Amores to Napè, Cypassis. Bagous, and
[ In the Sacred Street.’—Ver.
266. Presents of game and trout very often follow a similar devolution at
the present day.]
[ Amaryllis was so fond
of.—Ver. 267. He alludes to a line of Virgil, which, doubtless, was
then well known to all persons of education. It occurs in the Eclogues:
‘Castaneasque nuces, mea quas Amaryllis amabat.’ ‘Chesnuts, too, which my
Amaryllis was so fond of.’ In the next line, he hints that the damsels of
his day were too greedy to be satisfied with chesnuts only.]
[ Thrush and a pigeon.—Ver.
269. Probably live birds of the kind are here alluded to; Pliny tells us
that they were trained to imitate the human voice. Thrushes were much
esteemed as a delicacy for the table. They were sold tied up in clusters,
in the shape of a crown.]
[ By these means.—Ver.
271. He alludes to those who continued to slip into dead men’s shoes, by
making trifling presents of niceties. Juvenal inveighs against this
[ Poetry does not.—Ver.
274. See the remarks of Dipsas in the Amores, Book i. El. viii. 1. 57.]
[ Only rich.—Ver.
276. See the Amores, Book iii. El. ii.]
[ Tyrian hue.—Ver.
297. See the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 107, and the Note.]
[ Of Cos—Ver. 298.
See the Epistles of Sabinus, Ep. iii. 1. 45, and the Note.]
[ A dress of felt.—Ver.
300. ‘Gausape,’ ‘gausapa,’ or ‘gausapum,’ was a kind of thick woolly
cloth, which had a long nap on one side. It was used to cover tables and
beds, and as a protection against wind and rain. It was worn both by males
and females, and came into use among the Romans about the time of
[ You are setting me on
fire.—Ver. 301. Burmanu deservedly censures the explanation of
‘moves incendia,’ given by Crispinus, the Delphin Editor, ‘Vous mourrez de
chaud,’ ‘You will die of heat,’ applying the observation to the lady, and
not, figuratively, to the feelings of her lover.]
[ Her very embraces.—Ver.
308. The common reading of this line is clearly corrupt; probably the
reading is the one here adopted, ‘Et un dat, gaudia, voce proba.’]
[ What advice—Ver.
368. These attempts at argument are exhausted by Paris, in his Epistle to
417. Pliny prescribes nettle-seed as a stimulating medicine, mixed with
linseed, hyssop, and pepper.]
[ White onion.—Ver.
421. The onions of Megara are praised by Cato, the agricultural writer.]
421. See the Metamorphoses, Book vii. 1.]
[ At first.—Ver.
467. See the beginning of the First Book of the Metamorphoses.]
[ Unclean mate.—Ver.
486. He alludes to the strong smell of the he-goat.]
491. He was a famous physician, son of Æsculapius, and was slain in the
Trojan war. See the Tristia, Book v. El. vi. 1. 11.]
[ He came.—Ver.
496. ‘Adest’ seems a preferable reading to ‘agit.’]
[ To know himself.—Ver.
600. ‘Know thyself,’ was a saying of Chilo, the Lacedaemonian, one of the
wise men of Greece. This maxim was also inscribed in gold letters in the
temple of Apollo at Delphi. ‘Too much of nothing’ was a second maxim there
inscribed; and a third was, ‘Misery is the consequence of debt and
[ Drinks with elegance.—Ver.
506. It is hard to say what art in drinking is here alluded to; whether a
graceful air in holding the cup, or the ability of drinking much without
shewing any signs of inebriety.
Let the old woman come.—Ver. 329. In sickness it was the custom to
purify the bed and chamber of the patient, with sulphur and eggs. It seems
also to have been done when the patient was pining through unrequited
love. Apulius mentions a purification by the priest of Isis, who uses eggs
and sulphur while holding a torch and repeating a prayer. The nurse of the
patient seems here to be directed to perform the ceremony.]
[ The Fasti, Book ii. 1.
19, and Book iv. 1. 728. From a passage of Juvenal, we find that it was a
common practice to purify with eggs and sulphur, in the month of
September, * On Athos.—Ver. 517. See the Metamorphoses, Book ii. 1.
217, and the Note.]
[ On Hybla.—Ver.
517. See the Tristia, Book v. El. xiii. 1. 22.]
[ Off your head.—Ver.
528. Iphis, in the fourteenth Book of the Metamorphoses, 1. 732, raises
his eyes to the door-posts of his mistress, ‘so often adorned by him with
[ The senses.—Ver.
532. He seems to believe, with Nixon d’Enelos, in the existence of a sixth
[ Of mighty Jove.—Ver.
540. He alludes to the triumphal procession to the Capitol.]
[ Gentle sleep.—Ver.
546. See the Amores, Book iii. El. i. 1. 51. He means to say that husbands
give a certain latitude to their wives, who do not fail to improve upon
[ Own husband.—Ver.
551. See the Amores, Book i. El. iv. 1. 38.]
[ Other men visit.—Ver.
554. ‘Viri’ seems to be a better reading than ‘viro.’]
[ Mars and Venus.—Ver.
562. See the Metamorphoses, Book iv. 1. 173.]
[ Says, laughing.—Ver.
585. See a similar passage in the Metamorphoses, Book iv. 1. 187.]
[ For Thrace.—Ver.
588. He was much venerated by the warlike Thracians.]
[ Paphos.—Ver. 588.
See the Metamorphoses, Book x. 1. 298.]
[ Fire and water render.—Ver.
598. Among the Romans, when the bride reached her husband’s house, he
received her with fire and water, which it was the custom for her to
touch. This is, by some, supposed to have been symbolical of purification;
or it was an expression of welcome, as the interdiction of fire and water
was the formula for banishment.]
[ My sallies.—Ver.
600. See Book L 1. 31, and the Note. See also the Fasti, Book iv. 1. 866,
and the Note.]
[ The rites of Ceres.—Ver.
601. He alludes to the mysterious rites of Ceres, in the island of
[ Not enclosed in chests.—Ver.
609. Certain chests were carried in the procession at the festival of
Ceres, the contents of which, if there were any, was a mystery to the
[ The left hand.—Ver.
614. This is the attitude of the Venus de Medicis.]
[ At a heavy price.—Ver.
626. Men spend their money on debauchery, only for the pleasure of talking
[ Waving wings.—Ver.
644. He refers to Perseus admiring the swarthy Andromeda.]
[ Of larger stature.—Ver.
645. She was remarkable for her height.]
[ Green bark.—Ver.
639. He speaks of the slip engrafted in the stock.]
[ What Consulship.—Ver.
663. The age of persons was reckoned by naming the Consulship in which
they were born; the period of which was Known by reference to the ‘Fasti
Consulares.’ See the Introduction to the Fasti.]
[ Rigid Censor.—Ver.
664. It was the duty of the Censor to make enquiries into the age of all
[ Best years.—Ver.
666. Even in those days, it was considered ungallant to make too
scrutinizing enquiries into the years of ladies of ‘a certain age.’]
[ Kind of warfare.—Ver.
674. See the Amores, Book i. El. ix. 1. 1.]
[ Besides in these.—Ver.
675. In reference to females of a more advanced age.]
[ Seven times five years.—Ver.
694. He probably means, in this passage, a lustrum of five years. Burmann
justly observes, that ‘cito,’ ‘quickly,’ or ‘soon,’ can hardly be the
proper reading, as it seems to contradict the meaning of the context. He
suggests ‘nisi,’ meaning ‘but,’ or ‘only.’ See the Fasti, Book iii. 1.
166, and the Note. Also the Tristia, Book iv. El. xvi. 1. 78.]
[ Stored up in the times.—Ver.
696. He uses this metaphorical expression to signify that he admires
females when of a ripe and mature age See the Amores, Book ii. El. v. 1.
54, and the Note.]
[ The shooting grass.—Ver.
698. In Nisard’s translation, the words ‘prata novella’ are rendered
‘l’herbe nouvellement coupée,’ ‘the grass newly cut.’ This is not the
meaning of the passage. He intends to say that the grass just shooting up
is apt to cut or prick the naked foot.]
699. She was the daughter of Helen and Menelaus.]
[ Gorge.—Ver. 700.
She was the daughter of Altnea, and sister of Meleager. She married
735. The brother of Machaon. See the Tristia Book v. El. xiii. 1. 32.]
737. See the Metamorphoses.]
738. The son of Diores. He was the charioted of Achilles.]
[ Upon his spoil—Ver.
744. It was the custom to write inscriptions on the spoil. See the Notes
to the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 663.]
FOOTNOTES OF BOOK THE THIRD
2. See the 21st Epistle, 1.118, and the Note.]
[ Dione.—Ver. 3.
See the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 461, and the Note.]
[ Son of Atreus.—Ver.
11. ‘Helen was unfaithful to Menelaus, while Clytemnestra killed
[ Son of Oeclus.—Ver.
13. See the Metamorphoses, Book viii. 1. 317, ind the Note.]
[ From Phylace.—Ver.
17. See the Epistle of Laodamia to Protesilaius.]
[ Son of Pheres.—Ver.
19. See the Pontic Epistles, Book iii. El. i. L 106, and the Note.]
[ And in place of—Ver.
20. See the 111th line of the same Elegy, and the Note. Also the Tristia,
Book v. El. xiv. 1. 38.]
[ My skiff.—Ver.
26. ‘Cymba.’ See the Amores, Book iii. El. vi. 1. 4, and the Note.]
[ Another bride.—Ver.
34. Jason deserted Medea for Creusa.]
[ Nine journies.—Ver.
37. See the Epistle of Phyllis to Demophoon.]
[ Two treatises.—Ver.
47. His former books on the Art of Love.]
[ Who before had
uttered.—Ver. 49. He alludes to the Poet Stesichorus, on whose lips
a nightingale was said to have perched and sung, when he was a child.
Pliny relates that he wrote a poem, inveighing bitterly against Helen, in
which he called her the firebrand of Troy, on which he was visited with
blindness by her brothers, Castor and Pollux, and did not recover his
sight till he had recanted in his Palinodia, which he composed in her
praise. Suidas says, that Stesichorus composed thirty, six books of Poems.
Helen was born at Therapnæ, a town of Laconia.]
[ Your own privileges.—Ver.
58. ‘Sua’ seems to mean the privileges sanctioned and conceded by the law,
probably to those females who were in the number of the ‘professae.’]
[ No door.—Ver.
71. So Horace says, in his address to Lydia, Book i. Ode i. 25; ‘Less
frequently do the wanton youths shake your joined windows with many a
blow, and no longer deprive thee of sleep, and the door adheres to its
[ Bestrewed with roses.—Ver.
72. See line 528: in the last Book Lucretius speaks of the admirers of
damsels anointing their doors with M ointment made of sweet marjoram.]
86. According to Hesiod, Venus was the mother of three children by Mars,
of whom Hermione was one.]
[ May take up again.—Ver.
96. This is not the proper translation, of the passage; but the real
meaning cannot be presented with a due regard to decorum.]
[ I begin with dress.—Ver.
101. He plays upon the different meanings of the word ‘cultus’; which
means either ‘dress,’ or ‘cultivation,’ according as it is applied, to
persons or land.]
[ A great part.—Ver.
104. This is a more ungallant remark than we should have expected Ovid to
[ Of Phoebus.—Ver.
119. He alludes to the temple of Apollo, on the Palatine Hill, where
Augustus and Tiberius resided.]
[ And choice shells.—Ver.
124. He alludes to pearls which grow in the shell of the pearl oyster, and
are found in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.]
[ By the moles.—Ver.
126. He alludes to the stupendous moles which the Romans fabricated, as
breakwaters, at their various bathing-places on the coast of Italy. See
the Odes of Horace, Book iii. ode 1.]
[ Round features.—Ver.
139. See the Pontic Epistles, Book iii Ep. iii. 1. 15, and the Note.]
[ Figure of the
tortoise.—Ver. 147. Salmasius thinks that the ‘galerus,’ or ‘wig of
false hair,’ is alluded to in this passage. Others think that a coif or
fillet of net-work is alluded to. He probably means a mode of dressing the
hair in the shape of a lyre, with horns on each side projecting outwards.
Mercury, the inventor of the lyre, was born on Mount Cyllene, in Arcadia.]
[ The waves.—Ver.
148. Juvenal mentions a mode of dressing the hair to a great height by
rows of false curls.]
[ The herbs from
Germany.—Ver. 163. He alludes, probably, to herbs brought from
Germany, which were burnt for the purpose of making a soap used in turning
the hair of a blonde colour. See the Amores, Book i. El. xiv. 1. 1, and
[ For money—Ver.
166. See 1. 45 of the above Elegy.]
[ The eyes of Hercules.—Ver.
168. He means that the wig-makers’shops were in the neighbourhood of the
Temple of Hercules Musagetes, in the Flaminian Circus. See the Sixth Book
of the Fasti, 1. 801.]
[ Gold flounces.—Ver.
169. ‘Segmenta’ are probably broad flounces to the dresses inlaid with
plates of gold, or gold threads embroidered on them.]
[ On one’s person.—Ver.
127. Like our expression, ‘To carry a fortune on one’s back.’]
[ That art said.—Ver.
175. He refers to the colour of the Ram with the Golden Fleece, that bore
Helle and Phryxus over the Hellespont.]
[ Resembles the waves.—Ver.
177. He evidently alluded to dresses which resemble the surface of the
waves, and which we term ‘watered’; and which the Romans called
‘undulatae,’ from ‘unda,’ a ‘wave.’ Varro makes mention of ‘undulatæ
togæ.’ Some Commentators, however, fancy that he alludes here to colour,
meaning ‘glaucus,’ or ‘sea-green,’ which Lucretius also calls ‘
183. See the last Book, 1. 267, and the Note.]
[ And wax.—Ver.
184. Plautus mentions the ‘Carinarii,’ who dyed garments of a waxen, or
192. See the Metamorphoses, Book v. 1. 242, and the Note.]
[ Shocking goat.—Ver.
193. See the Note to 1. 522: of the First Book.]
[ Application of wax.—Ver.
199. Wax is certainly used as a cosmetic, but ‘creta’ seems to be a
preferable reading, as chalk in a powdered state was much used for adding
to the fairness of the complexion. Ovid would hardly recommend a cosmetic
of so highly injurious a tendency as melted wax.]
[ The eye-brows.—Ver.
201. We learn from Juvenal, that the colour of them was heightened by
punctures with a needle being filled with soot.]
[ And the little patch.—Ver.
202. ‘Aluta’ means ‘skin made soft by means of alum.’ It is difficult to
discover what it means here, whether ‘a patch’ made of a substance like
gold-beater’s skin, somewhat similar to those used in the days of the
Spectator; or a liquid cosmetic, such as Pliny calls ‘calliblepharum,’ ‘an
aid to the eye-brows.’ He seems to use the word ‘sinceras’ in its
primitive sense, ‘without wax’; which recommendation certainly would
contradict the common reading, ‘cera,’ in the 199th line.]
[ To mark the eyes.—Ver.
203. To heighten the colour of the eyelashes, ashes (and probably
charcoal) were u»ed by the Roman women. Saffron also was used. A black
paint, made of pulverized antimony, is used by the women in the East, at
the present day, to paint their eyebrows black. It is called ‘surme,’ and
was also used at ancient Rome. Cydnus was a river of Cilicia.]
[ A little treatise.—Ver.
205. He alludes to his book, ‘On the care of the Complexion,’ of which a
[ Of the cesypum.—Ver.
213. The filthy cosmetic called ‘cesypum,’ was prepared from the wool of
those parts of the body where the sheep perspired most; it was much used
for embellishing the complexion. Pliny mentions the sheep of Athens as
producing the best. It had a strong rank smell. The red colour, which was
used by the Roman ladies for giving a bloom to the skin, was prepared from
a moss called ‘fucus’; from which, in time, all kinds of paint received
the name of ‘fucus.’]
[ Of the deer.—Ver.
215. Pliny speaks highly of the virtues of stag’s marrow. It probably
occupied much the same position in estimation, that bear’s grease does at
the present day.]
219. There were two sculptors of this name: one a native of Lycia, the
other of Eleuthera.]
[ Beautiful statue.—Ver.
223. He alludes to that of Venus Anadyomene, or rising from the sea, which
was made by Praxiteles, and was often copied by the sculptors of Greece
[ Pierces her arms.—Ver.
240. See a similar passage in the Amores. Book i. El. xiv. 1. 16.]
[ Toilet in the temple.—Ver.
244. He tells those who have not fine heads of hair, to be as careful in
admitting any men to see their toilet, as the devotees of Bona Dea were to
keep away all males from her solemnities.]
[ Sidonian fair.—Ver.
252. Europa was a Phoenician by birth.]
[ With the clothes.—Ver.
226. See the Amores, Book i. El. iv. 1.48, and the Note.]
[ With purple stripes.’—Ver.
269. Commentators are at a loss to know what ‘tingere virgis’ means; some
suggest, ‘to wear garments with red ‘virgæ,’ or ‘stripes,’while others
think that it means ‘to tint the skin with fine lines of a purple colour.’
It is thought by some that vermilion is here alluded to, while others
suppose that the juice of the red flowers, or berries of the ‘vaccinium,’
[ The Pharian fish.—Ver.
270. The intestines and dung of the crocodile, ‘the Pharian’ or ‘Egyptian
fish,’ are here referred to. We learn from Pliny that these substances
were used by the females at Rome as a cosmetic, to add to the fairness of
the complexion, and to take away freckles from the skin.]
[ Small pads are
suitable.—Ver. 273 ‘Analectides,’ or ‘Analectrides,’ (the correct
reading is doubtful) were pads, or stuffings, of flock, used in cases of
high shoulders or prominent shoulder-blades.]
[ And let the girth.—Ver.
274. He alludes to the ‘strophium,’ which distantly resembled the stays of
the present day, and was a girdle, or belt, worn by women round the breast
and over the interior tunic or chemise. From an Epigram of Martial, it
seems to have been usually made of leather. Becker thinks that there was a
difference between the ‘fascia’ and the ‘strophium.’]
[ At a distance.—Ver.
278. One of the very wisest of his suggestions.]
303. The Umbrians were a people of the Marsi, in the north of Italy. They
were noted for their courage, and the rusticity of their manners.]
[ The son of Sisyphus.—Ver.
313. He here alludes to a scandalous story among the ancients, that
Ulysses was the son of Anticlea, by Sisyphus the robber, who had carried
her off, and not by Laertes, her husband.]
[ The wax.—Ver.
314. By the advice of Circe, Ulysses filled the ears of his companions
with melted wax, that they might not hear the songs of the Sirens.]
[ The measures of the
Nile.—Ver. 318. These airs were sung by Egyptian girls, with
voluptuous attitudes, and were much esteemed by the dissolute Romans.
These Egyptian singers were, no doubt, the forerunners of the ‘Alme’ of
Egypt at the present day. The Nautch girls and Bayaderes of the East
Indies are a kindred race.]
319. See the Metamorphoses, Book ii. 1. 601, and the Note; also the
Epistle of Briseïs, 1. 118, and the Note.]
[ Thy mother.—Ver.
323. Amphion and Zethuswere the sons of Jupiter and Antiope. Being carried
off by her uncle Lycus, Antiope was entrusted to his wife Dirce. When her
sons grew up, they fastened Dirce to wild oxen, by which she was tom to
pieces. Amphion was said to have built the walls of Thebes by the sound of
326. See the Fasti, Book ii. 1. 79.]
[ The festive psaltery.—Ver.
327. Suidas tells us that ‘naulium,’ or ‘nablium,’ was a name of the
psaltery. Josephus says that it had twelve strings. Strabo remarks that
the name was of foreign origin.]
329. See the Amores, Book ii. El. iv. 1. 19: and the Pontic Epistles, Book
iv. Ep. xvi. 1. 32, and the Notes of the passages.]
[ Poet of Cos.—Ver.
330. The poet Philetas. He flourished in the time of Philip and Alexander
the Great. Anacreon was a lyric poet of Teios, and a great admirer of the
juice of the grape.]
[ Or him, through whom.—Ver.
332. Some think that he means Menander, from whom Terence borrowed many of
his scenes; he probably alludes to the Phormio of Terence, where the old
men, Chremes and Demipho, are deceived by Geta, the cunning slave. See the
Tristia, Book ii. 1. 359: and 69.]
333. See the Tristia, Book ii. 1. 465, and the Note.]
334. See the Amores, Book iii. EL ix.]
335. See the Pontic Epistles, Book iv. Ep. xvi. 1. 21; and the Amores,
Book i. El. xv. 1. 21, and the Notes to the passages.]
[ Lofty Rome.—Ver.
338. He refers here to the Æneid of Virgil.]
[ Two sides.—Ver.
342. Both the males and the females.]
346. He takes to himself the credit of being the inventor of Epistolary
[ Masters of posture.—Ver.
351. These persons, who were also called ‘ludii,’ or ‘histrlones,’
required great suppleness of the sides, for the purpose of aptly assuming
expressive attitudes; for which reason he calls them ‘artifices lateris.’
See the First Book, 1. 112; and the Tristia, Book ii, 1. 497, and the
[ Which she must call
for.—Ver. 356. Probably at the game of ‘duodecim seripta,’ or
‘twelve points,’ like our backgammon; sets of three ‘tesseræ,’ or dice,
were used for throwing; he recommends her to learn the game, and to know
on what points to enter when taken up, and what throws to call for. See
the last Book, 1. 203; and the Tristia, Book ii. 1. 473, and the Note.]
[ The pieces.—Ver.
357. See the Note to 1. 207, in the last Book.]
[ The warrior, too.—Ver.
359. He alludes to one of the principal pieces, whose fate depends upon
[ Let the smooth balls.—Ver.
361. He seems to allude here to a game played by putting marbles (which
seems to be the meaning of ‘pilæ leves,’ ‘smooth balls,’) into a net with
the month open, and then taking them out one by one without moving any of
[ Kind of game.—Ver.
363. These two lines do not seem to be connected with the game mentioned
in 1. 365, but rather to refer to that mentioned in 1. 355.]
[ A little table
receives.}—Ver. 365. This game is mentioned in the Tristia, Book ii.
1. 481. It seems to resemble the simple game played by schoolboys on the
slate, and known among them as tit-tat-to.]
[ No trusting.—Ver.
377. On account of the continued run of bad luck.]
[ Flying ball.’—Ver.
380. See the Tristia, Book ii. 1. 485-6, and the Note.]
[ The Virgin.—Ver.
385. This was near the Campus Martius. See the Fasti, Book i. 1. 464; and
the Pontic Epistles, Book i. Ep. viii. 1. 38, and the Note.]
386. The Tiber flowed through ancient Etruria.]
[ The Virgin.—Ver.
388. He alludes to the heat while the sun is passing through the
390. See the Amores, Book ii. El. xiii. 1. 7, and the Note. He alludes to
the victory of Augustus over Antony and Cleopatra, at Actium; on which the
conqueror built the temple of Apollo on the Palatine hill.]
[ The suter and the
wife.—Ver. 391. Livia, the wife, and Octavia, the sister of
Augustus, are referred to.]
[ His son-in-law.—Ver.
392. The allusion is to M. Agrippa, the husband of Julia, the daughter of
Augustus; after the defeat of the younger Pompey, Augustus presented him
with a naval crown. A Portico built by Augustus was called by his name.]
[ Memphian heifer.—Ver.
393. See the Amores, Book i. El. viii. 1. 74.]
[ Frequent the three
Theatres.—Ver. 394. He probably alludes to the theatres of Pompey,
Balbus, and Marcellus, as they are mentioned by Suetonius as the ‘trina
[ Glowing wheels.—Ver.
396. See the Amores, Book iii. El. ii.]
399. He was a Thracian poet, who challenged the Muses to sing, and,
according to Homer, was punished with madness. Diodorus Siculus says that
he lost his voice, while the Roman poets state that he lost his sight.
Amoebeus was a famous lute-player of Athens.]
[ Of Cos.—Ver.
401. See the Pontic Epistles, Book iv. Ep. i. 1. 29.]
[ Poets were.—Ver.
405. Euripides was the guest of Archelaüs king of Macedonia, Anacreon of
Polycrates king of Samos, and Pindar and Bacchilides of Hiero king of
[ Placed near to thee.—Ver.
410. According to some accounts, the ashes of Ennius were deposited in the
tomb of the Scipios, by the older of his friend Scipio Africanus.]
[ Its own Priam.—Ver.
440. Priam and Antenor advised that Helen should be restored to Menelaus.]
[ Liquid nard.—Ver.
443. There were two kinds of nard, the ‘foliated,’ and the ‘spike’ nard.
It was much esteemed as a perfume by the Romans.]
[ Narrow belt.—Ver.
444. He probably means a girdle that fitted tightly, and caused the ‘toga’
to set in many creases. See the Notes to the Fasti, Book v. 1. 675.]
[ And many a ring.—Ver.
446. ‘alter et alter.’ Literally, one and another.]
[ Some thief.—Ver.
447. Among its other refinements, Rome seems to have had its swell mob.]
[ Thou, Venus—Ver.
451. This temple is referred to in the First Book, 1. 81—87. Its
vicinity was much frequented by courtesans.]
[ You, ye Goddesses.—Ver.
452. He probably alludes to the Nymphs whose statues were near the Appian
aqueduct, mentioned in the 81st Une of the First Book. The Delphin Editor
absolutely thinks that the ‘pro-fessæ,’ or courtesans, are themselves
alluded to as the ‘Appiades Deæ.’]
457. Who deserted Ariadne.]
[ Of Inachus.—Ver.
464. Isis, or To. Seo the Metamorphoses, Bk. i.]
[ To deceive your
husbands.—Ver. 484. It is not improbable that ‘viros’ here means
merely ‘keepers,’ and not ‘husbands,’ especially as he alludes to their
being without the privilege of the ‘vitta,’ which the matrons wore.]
[ Two hands.—Ver.
496. He means, that the writing of the lover must be quite erased before
she pens her answer on the same tablets.]
[ Hence, avaunt.—Ver.
505. See the Fasti, Book vi. 1. 696. * Laying aside his foils.—Ver.
515. The ‘rudis’ was a stick, which soldiers and persons exercising used
in mimic combat, probably like our foil or singlestick.]
[ With Tecmessa.—Ver.
517. She was taken captive by Ajax, and probably had good reason to be
[ The twig of vine.—Ver.
527. He alludes to the Centurions, who had the power of inflicting
corporal punishment, from which circumstance their badge of office was a
536. Nemesis was the mistress of Tibullus. See the Amores, Book iii. El.
ix. Cynthia was the mistress of Propertius and Lycoris of Gallus.]
[ Shut your door.—Ver.
587. He addresses the husband, whom he supposes to be wearied with
[ Than even Thais.—Ver.
604. Thais seems to have been a common name with the courtesans of ancient
times. Terence, in his Eunuchus, introduces one of that name, who is
pretty much of the free and unrestrained character here depicted.]
[ Lictor’s rod.—Ver.
615. This conferred freedom on the slave who was touched with it. See the
Fasti, Book vi. 1. 676, and the Note, lie means, that free-born women are
worthy to become wives; but ‘libertinæ,’ or ‘freed-women,’ are only fit to
become ‘professæ,’ or ‘courtesans,’ when they may sin with impunity, so
far as the laws are concerned.]
[ Broad girth.—Ver.
622. This seems to be the kind of belt mentioned in line 274.]
[ Stalk of wetted flax.—Ver.
629. According to the common reading, this will mean that the letter is to
be written on blank paper, with a stalk of wetted flax; which writing will
afterwards appear, when a black substance is thrown upon it. Heinsius
insists that the passage is corrupt, and suggests that ‘alumine nitri’ is
the correct reading; in which case it would mean that alum water is to be
used instead of ink. Vessius tells us that alum water, mixed with the
juice of the plant ‘tithymalum,’ was used for the purposes of secret
[ Good Goddess.—Ver.
637. The debauched Clodius was detected as being present at these rites,
in a female dress.]
[ The false key, too,
tells.—Ver. 643. He plays upon the double meaning of the words,
‘adultéra clavis,’ which properly signifies ‘a false key.’]
[ Even though.—Ver.
646. ‘Even though you should have to go to the expense of providing the
rich wines of Spain for the purpose.’]
[ Even she.—Ver.
663. He alludes to the accommodating lady mentioned in line 641.]
[ Has she filled.—Ver.
666. See his address to Cypassis, in the Amores, Book ii. El. viii.]
[ Lemnian dames.—Ver.
672. See the introduction to the Epistle from Hypsipyle to Jason.]
695. This story is also related in the Seventh Book of the Metamorphoses.]
[ The quinces.—Ver.
705. These are called ‘cydonia,’ from Cydon, city of Crete.]
[ Cyllenian God.—Ver.
725. Cephalus was said to be the son of Mercury; but, according to one
account, which is followed by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, Deioneus was his
[ Her breath.—Ver.
746. See the corresponding passage in the Metamorphoses, Book vii. 1. 861.
It was the custom for the nearest relative to catch the breath of the
dying person in the mouth.]
[ With your fingers.—Ver.
755.. Perhaps he means in moderato quantities at a time, and not in whole
handfuls. See the Note to the First Book, 1. 577.]
[ And do not first.—Ver.
757. He seems to irs two precepts here; first, they are not to eat so much
at home as to take away all appetite at the banquet, as that would savour
of affectation, and be an act of rudeness to the host. On the other hand,
he warns them not to stuff as long as they are able, but rather to leave
off with an appetite. The passage, however, is hopelessly corrupt, and is
capable of other interpretations.]
[ Perform their duty.—Ver.
764. ‘Constent,’ literally. ‘Will stand together.’]
[ The swans.—Ver.
899. He also alludes to them in the Metamorphoses, as drawing the car of
Venus, though that office was more generally assigned by the Poets to
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