from ARS AMATORIA - Ifrom THE ART OF LOVE - I
Ovidtrans. Len Krisak
Siquis in hoc artem populo non novít amandi,
Hoc legat et lecto carmine doctus amet.
Arte citae veloque rates remoque moventur,
Arte leves currus: arte regendus amor.
Curribus Automedon lentisque erat aptus habenis,
Tiphys in Haemonia puppe magister erat:
Me Venus artificem tenero praefecit Amori;
Tiphys et Automedon dicar Amoris ego.
Ille quidem ferus est et qui mihi saepe repugnet:
Sed puer est, aetas mollis et apta regi.
Phillyrides puerum cithara perfecit Achillem,
Atque animos placida contudit arte feros.
Qui totiens socios, totiens exterruit hostes,
Creditur annosum pertimuisse senem.
Quas Hector sensurus erat, poscente magistro
Verberibus iussas praebuit ille manus.
Aeacidae Chiron, ego sum praeceptor Amoris:
Saevus uterque puer, natos uterque dea.
Sed tamen et tauri cervix oneratur aratro,
Frenaque magnanimi dente teruntur equi;
Et mihi cedet Amor, quamvis mea vulneret arcu
Pectora, iactatas excutiatque faces.
Quo me fixit Amor, quo me violentius ussit,
Hoc melior facti vulneris ultor ero:

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Let anyone who lacks the art of love read on,
And having read, his ignorance is gone!
It's art that makes a ship respond to sail and oar,
And art that drives a team or guides Amor.
Automedon controlled his reins with expert grip
Like Tiphys, helming that Haemonian ship.
Now Venus says that I shall rule her tender son;
I'll be Love's Tiphys and Automedon.
And though he's wild, and prone to fighting me in school,
He's still a little boy that I can rule
(The way that Chiron broke Achilles on a lyre,
By banking down that cherub's feral fire).
They say that he whom enemies and friends both feared,
Cowered before a Centaur's hoary beard,
And hands that Hector felt were once held out to feel
A master's lashing into welt and weal.
Achilles, Love: two pupils. Chiron, me: two teachers.
Two sons of goddesses, both savage creatures.
But bulls pull ploughs no matter whether the yoke fits,
And fiery horses grind their bits to bits,
So Love will yield, even if he should pierce my heart,
Shaking his burning brand, shooting his dart.
The deeper that he wounds, the hotter that wound burns,
The sooner he'll be paid what wounding earns.

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Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. Copyright © Len Krisak 2003 - publ. P.N.Review Vol.29, No.3


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