P. OVIDI NASONIS LIBER PRIMVS AMORES
Publius Ovidius Naso [Ovid]
43 BC-17 AD
Latin (Golden Age of Literature/Imperial Era)
Qui modo Nasonis fueramus quinque libelli,
[One's Own Poem:
Although we were once five little books written by Naso, now we only three;]
hoc illi praetulit auctor opus.
[The author has preferred this style over the previous one.]
ut iam nulla tibi nos sit legisse voluptas,
at levior demptis poena duobus erit.
[And the result? That you can no longer take pleasure in reading us; so now, his punishment will be easier, now that these two have been taken away.]
Arma gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
[I was just about to prepare, in a serious meter, to describe warfare and violent battles--matters suitable to this presentation.]
par erat inferior versus—risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
[The second verse was shorter--and they tell me that it was because Cupid had laughed and stolen one of the beats from my meter!]
'Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris? 5
[Cruel lad, who allowed you this power over songs?]
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
[O bards of the Pierides, we do not belong with your crowd.]
quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
[What has the world come to, if Venus can take for herself the arms of auburn-haired Minerva, and auburn-haired Minerva blow out torches that have lit?]
quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
[Who can think it proper for Ceres to reign in mountain forests, and for the fields to be tilled by the power of the bowed Virgin?]
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
[Who can teach lessons to Phoebus Apollo, renowned for his locks, in the sharp point of the arrow, and his Aonian lyre in how to incite battle?]
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
[My boy, these powers and domains are much too powerful for you;]
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
[You ambitious boy, why do you attempt such an awkward endeavor?]
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?
[Come on, do you think you own everything? Are Helicon's temples yours?]
vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
[Is even Apollo's own lyre is only barely safe for himself?]
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
[when the new page arose well, starting from its first verse]
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
[he thinned my nerves;]
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
[nor is my subject-matter suitable to light-hearted meters,]
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.' 20
[or either a boy or a girl who has arranged their locks to be long."
[I had finished my complaint,]
pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
[when the other straightaway chose an arrow, fashioned for my destruction, from his loosened quiver,]
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
[and he curved his stringy bow bravely across his knee,]
'quod' que 'canas, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus!'
[and he said, "Whatever, bard, you sing, receive as your finished product!"]
certas habuit puer ille sagittas. 25
[That boy has unerring arrows.]
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
[I'm burned, and Love rules supreme in my hollowed-out chest.]
Sex mihi surgat opus numeris,
[Let my work rise with a total of six,]
in quinque residat:
[and top off with five ones:]
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
[fare you well, you iron-clad rhythms of war, along with your meters!]
cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto, Musa, per undenos emodulanda pedes! 30
[Bind my shorely temples with golden myrrh, my Muse, as they are now bequeathed to take measure along eleven feet!]