from "THE AMORES I.5"
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)tr. Peter Green
Aestvs erat, mediamque dies exegerat horam;
apposui medio membra leuanda toro.
pars adaperta fuit, pars altera clausa fenestrae,
quale fere siluae lumen habere solent,
qualia sublucent fugiente crepuscula Phoebo
aut ubi nox abiit nec tamen orta dies.
ilia uerecundis lux est praebenda puellis,
qua timidus latebras speret habere pudor.
ecce, Corinna uenit tunica uelata recincta,
candida diuidua colla tegente coma,
qualiter in thalamos formosa Semiramis isse
dicitur et multis Lais amata uiris.
deripui tunicam; nec multum rara nocebat,
pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi,
cumque ita pugnaret tamquam quae uincere nollet,
uicta est non aegre proditione sua.
ut stetit ante oculos posito uelamine nostros,
in toto nusquam corpore menda fuit:
quos umeros, quales uidi tetigique lacertos!
forma papillarum quam fuit apta premi!
quam castigato planus sub pectore uenter!
quantum et quale latus! quam iuuenale femur!
singula quid referam? nil non laudabile uidi,
et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum.
cetera quis nescit? lassi requieuimus ambo.
proueniant medii sic mihi saepe dies.
............
............
A hot afternoon: siesta-time. Exhausted,
I lay sprawled across my bed.
One window-shutter was closed, the other stood half-open,
And the light came sifting through
As it does in a wood. It recalled that crepuscular glow at sunset
Or the trembling moment between darkness and dawn,
Just right for a modest girl whose delicate bashfulness
Needs camouflage. And then -
In stole Corinna, long hair tumbled about her
Soft white throat, a rustle of summer skirts,
Like some fabulous Eastern queen en route to her bridal-chamber -
Or a top-line city call-girl, out on the job.
I tore the dress off her - not that it really hid much,
But all the same she struggled to keep it on:
Yet her efforts were unconvincing, she seemed half-hearted -
Inner self-betrayal made her give up.
When at last she stood naked before me, not a stitch of clothing
I couldn't fault her body at any point.
Smooth shoulders, delectable arms ( I saw, I touched them)
Nipples inviting caresses, the flat
Belly outlined beneath that flawless bosom,
Exquisite curve of a hip, firm youthful thighs.
But why catalogue details? Nothing came short of perfection,
And I clasped her naked body close to mine.
Fill in the rest for yourselves! Tired at last, we lay sleeping.
May my siestas often turn out that way!
............
............

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Trans. Copyright © Peter Green, 1982 - publ. Penguin Classics


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