from ARS AMATORIA - IIIfrom THE ART OF LOVE - III
Ovidtrans. Len Krisak
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Quis dubitet, quin scire velim saltare puellam,
Ut moveat posito brachia iussa mero?
Artifices lateris, scenae spectacula, amantur:
Tantum mobilitas illa decoris habet.
Parva monere pudet, talorum dicere iactus
Ut sciat, et vires, tessera missa, tuas:
Et modo tres iactet numeros, modo cogitet, apte
Quam subeat partem callida, quamque vocet.
Cautaque non stulte latronum proelia ludat,
Unus cum gemino calculus hoste perit,
Bellatorque sua prensus sine compare bellat,
Aemulus et coeptum saepe recurrit iter.
Reticuloque pilae leves fundantur aperto,
Nec, nisi quam tolles, ulla movenda pila est.
Est genus, in totidem tenui ratione redactum
Scriptula, quot menses lubricus annus habet:
Parva tabella capit ternos utrimque lapillos,
In qua vicisse est continuasse suos.
Mille facesse iocos; turpe est nescire puellam
Ludere: ludendo saepe paratur amor.
Sed minimus labor est sapienter iactibus uti:
Maius opus mores composuisse suos.
Tum sumus incauti, studioque aperimur in ipso,
Nudaque per lusus pectora nostra patent;
Ira subit, deforme malum, lucrique cupido,
Iurgiaque et rixae sollicitusque dolor:
Crimina dicuntur, resonat clamoribus aether,
Invocat iratos et sibi quisque deos:
Nulla fides, tabulaeque novae per vota petuntur;
Et lacrimis vidi saepe madere genas.
Iuppiter a vobis tam turpia crimina pellat,
In quibus est ulli cura placere viro.

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And who would doubt I think that girls should learn to dance?
Set down your wine and sway with elegance!
We love the dancer's art we see on stage, in plays,
For all the graceful charm that she displays.
Now, dice and such (I blush to add that you should know
Mere knucklebones - and how to call and throw).
Girls: sometimes, roll a three and sometimes, plot whose side
Your guile should take and whose should be defied.
Play cautiously at 'Bandits'; use your brains if you
Should lose one piece to an attack by two,
And find your champion battling on the field alone
(For enemies return then; that's well known).
At 'Marbles in the Net', move just the target ball,
And with some luck, you may remove them all.
There is a game board ruled by just as many lines
As the fleet year's black zodiac has signs.
Another game's small board requires, in a row,
Three stones lined up to win (that's how you'll know).
Invent a thousand games not to be ignorant of;
Games-playing: it's the entrée to new love!
However ... clever use of your next turn is not
What counts. It's how to keep from getting hot!
That's when we grow oblivious, our true souls bared -
When reckless passion leaves us unprepared
To hide the rage and greed that so deform the face.
Our brawls and sorrows rob us of our grace,
As accusations fly and awful cries resound.
We call on angry gods ... and they are found.
The bankrupt wails, and begs a clean, new slate;
That's when you see the tear ducts in full spate.
Jove keep you from such vile reproaches if you plan
Ever to win yourself a clever man.

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Trans. Copyright © Len Krisak 2003 - publ. P.N.Review Vol.30, No.1


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