Ovid: Amores 1.13

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Read by Professor Kathleen Coleman

Professor of Classics, Harvard University

(July 14, 1997. Boylston Recording Studios.

Jeff Martini, audio engineer.)




Amores 1.13
Iam super oceanum venit a seniore marito
    flava pruinoso quae vehit axe diem.
'Quo properas, Aurora? mane!--sic Memnonis umbris
    annua sollemni caede parentet avis!

5
nunc iuvat in teneris dominae iacuisse lacertis;
    si quando, lateri nunc bene iuncta meo est.
nunc etiam somni pingues et frigidus aer,
    et liquidum tenui gutture cantat avis.
quo properas, ingrata viris, ingrata puellis?
10
    roscida purpurea supprime lora manu!
Ante tuos ortus melius sua sidera servat
    navita nec media nescius errat aqua;
te surgit quamvis lassus veniente viator,
    et miles saevas aptat ad arma manus.
15
prima bidente vides oneratos arva colentes;
    prima vocas tardos sub iuga panda boves.
tu pueros somno fraudas tradisque magistris,
    ut subeant tenerae verbera saeva manus;
atque eadem sponsum incautos ante atria mittis,
20
    unius ut verbi grandia damna ferant.
nec tu consulto, nec tu iucunda diserto;
    cogitur ad lites surgere uterque novas.
tu, cum feminei possint cessare labores,
    lanificam revocas ad sua pensa manum.
25
Omnia perpeterer--sed surgere mane puellas,
    quis nisi cui non est ulla puella ferat?
optavi quotiens, ne nox tibi cedere vellet,
    ne fugerent vultus sidera mota tuos!
optavi quotiens, aut ventus frangeret axem,
30
    aut caderet spissa nube retentus equus!
quid, si Cephalio numquam flagraret amore?
    an putat ignotam nequitiam esse suam?
invida, quo properas? quod erat tibi filius ater,
    materni fuerat pectoris ille color.
35
Tithono vellem de te narrare liceret;
    fabula non caelo turpior ulla foret.
illum dum refugis, longo quia grandior aevo,
    surgis ad invisas a sene mane rotas.
at si, quem mavis, Cephalum conplexa teneres,
40
    clamares: "lente currite, noctis equi!"
Cur ego plectar amans, si vir tibi marcet ab annis?
    num me nupsisti conciliante seni?
adspice, quot somnos iuveni donarit amato
    Luna!--neque illius forma secunda tuae.
45
ipse deum genitor, ne te tam saepe videret,
    commisit noctes in sua vota duas.'
Iurgia finieram. scires audisse: rubebat--
    nec tamen adsueto tardius orta dies!

Some notes by Kathleen Coleman
Line 3: 'Aurora': Goddess of dawn ('Eos' in Greek). Of her numerous lovers, Tithonus was thr father of her son Memnon.

Line 24: 'lanificam ... manum': On their tombstones and elsewhere Roman women were praised for spinning and carding wool; Ovid points up the irony of the promiscuous Aurora sternly recalling Roman women to their chaste tasks every daybreak. Words like the compound adjective 'lanificus' are popular with Ovid for their dactylic rhythm (the first three syllables of this word comprise one 'long' and two 'short' syllables), which contributes to the speed and lightness of his verse.

Line 30: 'spissa nube': The conceit of Aurora's horses tripping over the clouds in the dawn sky is a typical product of Ovid's capacity for imagining a scene literally and exploiting its comic potential.

Latin 31: 'filius ater': Memnon was king of the Ethiopians, i.e. black, which Ovid says is the colour of his mother's adulterously wicked heart.

Line 35:
'Tithono': When Aurora asked Jupiter for eternal life for her lover Tithonus she forgot to specify eternal youth, so he grew older and older until he shrivelled up and became a thoroughly unerotic proposition.

Line 39: 'Cephalum': Cephalus was a hunter whom Aurora seduced.