from AMORES - I.5 CORINNA IN AN AFTERNOON
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) trans. A. S. Kline
Aestus erat, mediamque dies exegerat horam;
adposui medio membra levanda toro.
pars adaperta fuit, pars altera clausa fenestrae;
quale fere silvae lumen habere solent,
qualia sublucent fugiente crepuscula Phoebo,
aut ubi nox abiit, nec tamen orta dies.
illa verecundis lux est praebenda puellis,
qua timidus latebras speret habere pudor.
ecce, Corinna venit, tunica velata recincta,
candida dividua colla tegente coma,
qualiter in thalamos famosa Semiramis isse
dicitur, et multis Lais amata viris.
Deripui tunicam; nec multum rara nocebat;
pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi.
quae cum ita pugnaret, tamquam quae vincere nollet,
victa est non aegre proditione sua.
ut stetit ante oculos posito velamine nostros,
in toto nusquam corpore menda fuit.
quos umeros, quales vidi tetigique lacertos!
forma papillarum quam fuit apta premi!
quam castigato planus sub pectore venter!
quantum et quale latus! quam iuvenale femur!
Singula quid referam? nil non laudabile vidi
et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum.
Cetera quis nescit? lassi requievimus ambo.
proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies!
It was hot, and the noon hour had gone by:
I was relaxed, limbs spread in the midst of the bed.
One half of the window was open, the other closed:
the light was just as it often is in the woods,
it glimmered like Phoebus dying at twilight,
or when night goes, but day has still not risen.
Such a light as is offered to modest girls,
whose timid shyness hopes for a refuge.
Behold Corinna comes, hidden by her loose slip,
scattered hair covering her white throat -
like the famous Semiramis going to her bed,
one might say, or Lais loved by many men.
I pulled her slip away - not harming its thinness much;
yet she still struggled to be covered by that slip.
While she would struggle so, it was as if she could not win,
yielding, she was effortlessly conquered.
When she stood before my eyes, the clothing set aside,
there was never a flaw in all her body.
What shoulders, what arms, I saw and touched!
Breasts formed as if they were made for pressing!
How flat the belly beneath the slender waist!
What flanks, what form! What young thighs!
Why recall each aspect? I saw nothing lacking praise
and I hugged her naked body against mine.
Who doesn’t know the story? Weary we both rested.
May such afternoons often come for me!

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Trans. Copyright © A. S. Kline 2003


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