Publius Ovidius Naso [Ovid]
43 BC-17 AD
Latin (Golden Age of Literature/Imperial Era)
I. Penelope Vlixi
Haec tua Penelope lento tibi mittit, Ulixe
nil mihi rescribas attinet: ipse veni!
[Hail slow-moving Ulysses, your wife Penelope send you these letters to you--don't write anything back to me: only come yourself!]
Troia iacet certe, Danais invisa puellis;
[Troy surely lies in ruin, but it is still despised by the maidens of Greece;]
vix Priamus tanti totaque Troia fuit.
[Barely was Priam and all of the Troy worth the effort.]
o utinam tum, cum Lacedaemona classe petebat, 5
obrutus insanis esset adulter aquis!
[O, would that that adulterer had been drowned by raging waters before he could reach Sparta in his ship!]
non ego deserto iacuissem frigida lecto,
nec quererer tardos ire relicta dies;
[It is I who would then not have to had laid upon my lonely bad, cold, nor would I be complaining how the long days are growing late in my bereavement.]
nec mihi quaerenti spatiosam fallere noctem
lassaret viduas pendula tela manus.
[Nor should the hanging cloth wear out my widow's hands--I who seek to deceive the lengthy night.]
Quando ego non timui graviora pericula veris?
[When have I, for my part, not feared dangers less serious than imagined?]
res est solliciti plena timoris amor.
[Love is a matter full of anxious fear.]
in te fingebam violentos Troas ituros;
[I once imagined violent Trojans looming upon you;]
nomine in Hectoreo pallida semper eram.
[My skin always turned white with fear at the sound of Hector's name.]
sive quis Antilochum narrabat ab hoste revictum, 15
Antilochus nostri causa timoris erat;
[Or if someone described how Antilochus was beaten back by the enemy, Antilochus would be the cause of my fright;]
sive Menoetiaden falsis cecidisse sub armis,
flebam successu posse carere dolos.
[Or when Menetiades had fallen dead under false arms, I would begin to envy the fact I still had a matter to grieve about later.]
sanguine Tlepolemus Lyciam tepefecerat hastam;
[Before that, Tlepolemus had made his Lycian spear hot with bloodshed.]
Tlepolemi leto cura novata mea est.
[But when Tlepolemus died, my worry was then restored.]
denique, quisquis erat castris iugulatus Achivis,
frigidius glacie pectus amantis erat.
[And finally, no matter which Greek had his throat cut nearby his camp, the heart of his lover grow more and more frozen with ice.]
Sed bene consuluit casto deus aequus amori.
[But a fair god assessed my chaste love well.]
versa est in cineres sospite Troia viro.
[ Troy fell to ashes thanks to the help of my husband.]
Argolici rediere duces, altaria fumant;
[The generals of Argos have returned, and their altars now smoke;]
ponitur ad patrios barbara praeda deos.
[The barbarians' plunder is now dedicated to the gods of their nation.]
grata ferunt nymphae pro salvis dona maritis;
[Brides bring pleasing gifts for the spared lives of their husbands;]
illi victa suis Troica fata canunt.
[Everyone we now sings their own song of how Troy came to be conquered.]
mirantur iustique senes trepidaeque puellae;
[Fair-minded elders and trepid maidens stand amazed;]
narrantis coniunx pendet ab ore viri.
[The wife hangs from her husband's neck as he tells his story.]
atque aliquis posita monstrat fera proelia mensa,
pingit et exiguo Pergama tota mero:
[on top of that, everyone shows off their fierce spoils of battle upon set tables, and paints all of Pergamum with wine running scant:]
'hac ibat Simois; haec est Sigeia tellus;
["On this painting flows the Simois; this painting is of the Sigeian countryside;"]
hic steterat Priami regia celsa senis.
["Here stood the high old queen of Priam."]
illic Aeacides, illic tendebat Ulixes;
["Over here is the son of Aeacis, over there is Ulysses;"
hic lacer admissos terruit Hector equos.'
["And over here, Hector, torn to pieces, terrifies the horses to which he is tied."]
Omnia namque tuo senior te quaerere misso
rettulerat nato Nestor, at ille mihi.
[And thus, when I sent our son to search for you, the old man Nestor brought all the news back to me: HE did it!]
rettulit et ferro Rhesumque Dolonaque caesos,
utque sit hic somno proditus, ille dolo.
[And he told me how Rhesus and Dolon had been slain by the sword, and how this succeeded in the time of sleep, in a raid, HE did!]
ausus es—o nimium nimiumque oblite tuorum!—
Thracia nocturno tangere castra dolo
totque simul mactare viros, adiutus ab uno!
[You dared--o you are too forgetful, too forgetful of your own family!--- to reach the camps of the Thracians in a night raid, and to kill so many men too, aided only by a single man!]
at bene cautus eras et memor ante mei!
[But you were so cautious and mindful of me before!]
usque metu micuere sinus, dum victor amicum 45
dictus es Ismariis isse per agmen equis.
[So greatly did my chest heave in fear, until you were reported to have escaped, victorious through the enemy throng upon your steeds.]
Sed mihi quid prodest vestris disiecta lacertis
[But what good is Troy to me when I am ripped from your arms]
et, murus quod fuit, esse solum,
si maneo, qualis Troia durante manebam,
[and our house, what was of it, lonely, if I remain, just as I was waiting when Troy was still holding out]
virque mihi dempto fine carendus abest?
[and why should my husband be missing, destined to be separated from his home?]
diruta sunt aliis, uni mihi Pergama restant,
incola captivo quae bove victor arat.
[While Pergamum is destroyed for others, it remains standing for me alone, the city plowed over by the victor with it own captive cattle.]
iam seges est, ubi Troia fuit, resecandaque falce
luxuriat Phrygio sanguine pinguis humus;
[There are already cornfields, where there was once Troy, soon to be cut back by the blade, and the rich soil languishes from Phrygian blood.]
semisepulta virum curvis feriuntur aratris 55
ossa, ruinosas occulit herba domos.
[Half-covered bones of men are upturned by the curved plows, and the grass covers their doomed shelters.]
victor abes, nec scire mihi, quae causa morandi,
aut in quo lateas ferreus orbe, licet!
[You went away the victor, but let me not know what the cause of your delay, or where in the world you, you iron-hearted man, hide away!]
Quisquis ad haec vertit peregrinam litora puppim,
ille mihi de te multa rogatus abit,
[Whoever turns his foreign ship to these shores, he will go away bombarded from by me with questions,]
quamque tibi reddat, si te modo viderit usquam,
traditur huic digitis charta notata meis.
[and as soon as he returns to you, if ever he should see you again, he will carry the letters written by my hands there.]
nos Pylon, antiqui Neleia Nestoris arva,
misimus; incerta est fama remissa Pylo.
[I sent him to Pylos, Neleius' fields now ruled over by old Nestor;]
misimus et Sparten;
[and I sent him to Sparta.]
Sparte quoque nescia veri. 65
[Sparta as well did not know the truth about you.]
quas habitas terras, aut ubi lentus abes?
[What lands do you now reside in, or...why do you come travel so slowly?]
utilius starent etiamnunc moenia Phoebi—
[even now would Apollo's walls stand more usefully,]
irascor votis, heu, levis ipsa meis!
[how furious do I grow when I do not take my prayers seriously!]
scirem ubi pugnares,
[I could know where you've fought,]
et tantum bella timerem,
[and so greatly would I fear war,]
et mea cum multis iuncta querela foret. 70
[and then my own complain could have been linked to many others.]
quid timeam, ignoro
[The reason why I might be afraid, I know not]
—timeo tamen omnia demens,
[still, I am afraid, I've lost all of my wits]
et patet in curas area lata meas.
[and the sand lies open to my worries.]
quaecumque aequor habet,
[Whatever dangers the sea holds]
quaecumque pericula tellus,
[whatever dangers the earth possesses,]
tam longae causas suspicor esse morae.
[were exactly the causes I suspected for so long of a delay.]
haec ego dum stulte metuo,
[For my part, while I stupidly grew terrible for these things,]
quae vestra libido est, 75
[especially that lust of yours,]
esse peregrino captus amore potes.
[it's possible that you might have fallen in love with a foreigner.]
forsitan et narres,
[and perhaps you might tell]
quam sit tibi rustica coniunx,
[how you have a wife from the country,]
quae tantum lanas non sinat esse rudes.
[who only forbids her wool to be crude.]
fallar, et hoc crimen tenues vanescat in auras,
[Let me be wrong, and let this crime disappear into the thin breezes,]
neve, revertendi liber, abesse velis!
[and never let yourself wish to be away from me, a man seek to be free from the one he intended to return to!]
Me pater Icarius viduo discedere lecto
[My father Ikarios is now forcing me to abandon my widowed marriage bed,]
et immensas increpat usque moras.
[and he shouts furiously at so tremendous a period of delay.]
increpet usque licet—tua sum, tua dicar oportet;
[and let him shout furiously--I am YOUR wife, I need to be called YOURS;]
Penelope coniunx semper Ulixis ero.
[I Penelope will also be the lawful-wedded wife of Ulysses.]
ille tamen pietate mea precibusque pudicis 85
[He, on the other hand, is broken by my obligation to family, and my chaste prayers,]
et vires temperat ipse suas.
[and he himself keeps the force of his complaints measured.]
Dulichii Samiique et quos tulit alta Zacynthos,
turba ruunt in me luxuriosa proci,
[The Dolicheans, and Samians, and men lofty Zacynthos has borne, rush over to me as suitors, in a luxurious crowd,]
inque tua regnant nullis prohibentibus aula;
[and with nobody to prevent it, they rule over your house,]
viscera nostra, tuae dilacerantur opes. 90
[they gobble down our food, and your wealth.]
quid tibi Pisandrum Polybumque Medontaque dirum
Eurymachique avidas Antinoique manus
atque alios referam,
[What good would it do to name to you Pisander, Polybos, Mendon, and gloomy Eurymachos, and the greedy hands of Antinous, and others,]
quos omnis turpiter absens
ipse tuo partis sanguine rebus alis?
[men whom, like pigs, you yourself feed from all the efforts you worked for with your own blood?]
Irus egens pecorisque Melanthius actor edendi 95
ultimus accedunt in tua damna pudor.
[For godsake, a beggar named Iros and an actor, Melanthios, the very last person who should be fed, now enter your cursed home.]
Tres sumus inbelles numero, sine viribus uxor
Laertesque senex Telemachusque puer.
[Absent any men, we are three defenseless people in number, a wife, your old father Laertes, and your boy Telemachos.]
ille per insidias paene est mihi nuper ademptus,
[I recently saved the latter from treachery,]
dum parat invitis omnibus ire Pylon.
[so long as he now prepares to go to Pylos to the displeasure of all.]
di, precor, hoc iubeant,
[I pray that the gods order this done:]
ut euntibus ordine fatis
ille meos oculos conprimat, ille tuos!
[that he can close my eyes shut, that he can shut yours, when our deaths come in sequence!]
hac faciunt custosque boum longaevaque nutrix,
[Here do the cow herder and long-lived nurse act,]
Tertius inmundae cura fidelis harae;
[faithful care of a third ally belongs the keeper of the pigsty;]
sed neque Laertes, ut qui sit inutilis armis, 105
hostibus in mediis regna tenere potest—
[but Laertes, who is useless in battle now, cannot hold power in the midst of our enemies--]
Telemacho veniet, vivat modo, fortior aetas;
[and a stronger age needs to come to Telemachus, only needs he to live so long;]
nunc erat auxiliis illa tuenda patris—
[now you fatherland--that one--is in need of help]
nec mihi sunt vires inimicos pellere tectis.
[and I have not the strength to kick our foes out of our house.]
tu citius venias, portus et ara tuis! 110
[for you part, please come more quickly, and pray for you family!]
est tibi sitque, precor, natus,
[You have, and I pray you will still have, a son,]
qui mollibus annis
in patrias artes erudiendus erat.
[one who was just beginning to receive instruction in his father's skills during his younger years.]
[Think back to Laertes;]
ut tu sua lumina condas,
[so that it might be YOU who close his eyes]
extremum fati sustinet ille diem.
[he approaches the very last part of his life.]
Certe ego, quae fueram te discedente puella, 115
protinus ut venias, facta videbor anus.
[I, certainly, for my part, a woman had beforehand been just a girl when you left, unless you come sooner, will seem to have aged into an old woman.]