from "ARS AMATORIA II"from "THE ART OF LOVE II"
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)tr. Peter Green
Dicite 'io Paean' et 'io' bis dicite 'Paean':
decidit in casses praeda petita meos.
laetus amans donat uiridi mea carmina palma
praelata Ascraeo Maeonioque seni.
talis ab armiferis Priameius hospes Amyclis
candida cum rapta coniuge uela dedit;
talis erat qui te curru uictore ferebat,
uecta peregrinis Hippodamia rotis.

quid properas, iuuenis? mediis tua pinus in undis
nauigat, et longe quem peto portus abest.
non satis est uenisse tibi me uate puellam;
arte mea capta est, arte tenenda mea est.
nec minor est uirtus, quam quaerere, parta tueri:
casus inest illic, hoc erit artis opus.
nunc mihi, si quando, puer et Cytherea, fauete,
nunc Erato, nam tu nomen Amoris habes.
magna paro, quas possit Amor remanere per artes,
dicere, tam uasto peruagus orbe puer.
et leuis est et habet geminas, quibus auolet, alas;
difficile est illis imposuisse modum.

hospitis effugio praestruxerat omnia Minos;
audacem pinnis repperit ille uiam.
Daedalus, ut clausit conceptum crimine matris
semibouemque uirum semiuirumque bouem,
'sit modus exilio,' dixit 'iustissime Minos;
accipiat cineres terra paterna meos,
et, quoniam in patria fatis agitatus iniquis
uiuere non potui, da mihi posse mori.
da reditum puero, senis est si gratia uilis;
si non uis puero parcere, parce seni,
dixerat haec, sed et haec et multo plura licebat
diceret, egressus non dabat ille uiro.
............
............
Cry hurrah, and hurrah again, for a splendid triumph -
The quarry I sought has fallen into my toils.
Each happy lover now rates my verses higher
Than Homer's or Hesiod's, awards them the palm
Of victory. He's as cheerful as Paris was, sailing away from
Warlike Sparta, the guest who stole a bride,
Or Pelops, the stranger, the winner of Hippodameia
After that chariot-race.

Why hurry, young man? Your ship's still in mid-passage,
And the harbour I seek is far away.
Through my verses, it's true, you may have acquired a mistress,
But that's not enough. If my art
Caught her, my art must keep her. To guard a conquest's
As tricky as making it. There was luck in the chase,
But this task will call for skill If ever I needed support from
Venus and Son, and Erato - the Muse
Erotic by name - it's now, for my too ambitious project
To relate some techniques that might restrain
That fickle young globetrotter, Love. He's winged and flighty,
Hard to pin down. Just so

Minos might block every line of escape, yet his guest still found a
Daring way out - by air.
When Daedalus had built his labyrinth to imprison
The bull-man, man-bull, conceived through a queen's guilt,
He said: 'Most just Minos, put a term, now, to my exile,
Let my native soil receive
My ashes. Since unkind fate would not let me live there,
Grant me at least to die.
In my own country. Release the boy, if you hold his father's
Services cheap; spare me if you will not spare
My son.' So much he said - but might have gone on pleading
For ever in vain: the king would not grant his request.
............
............

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


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