Sacred Texts  Classics  Ovid  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at



IF anyone deems it a disgrace to be the slave of a beautiful woman, well then, I will plead guilty to the charge. Let him declare me an infamous fellow if he will, only let the goddess who rules over Paphos and wave-girt Cythera treat me a little more gently. Ali, would that I had fallen captive to a sweet and gentle woman, since I was fated to fall to a

p. 58

lovely one. Beauty engenders pride. Corinna is so fair, there's no managing her. Poor devil that I am, would she did not know how lovely she is! It is her mirror that makes her so conceited, and she never looks in it until her toilet is complete. Even if your charms do make you proud and promise conquests, charms that were born to captivate my eyes, that is no reason why you should treat me with disdain. High and low may mate together. They tell that the nymph Calypso, fired with love for a mortal, made him tarry with her against his will. ’Tis well known, too, that a daughter of Nereus did not disdain to lie with the King of Phthia, Egeria with Numa the just, and Venus with Vulcan, limping withal and dirty as he came straight from his forge. These lines are not of equal length, yet the heroic metre matches well its shorter fellow.

Dear heart, take me on whatsoever terms thou wilt. Throned high upon thy bed, be pleased to let me know thy laws. I'll never raise an accusing finger at you; you'll never have to disavow our love.

Let my verses be to you instead of riches. More than one woman owes her fame to me. I know of one who everywhere gives out that she's Corinna. What would she not give to be Corinna in very sooth? But even as we see not the cool Eurotas and the poplar-fringed Po gliding along between the self-same banks, so none but thou shalt be the subject of my song, and thou alone shalt be my inspiration.


Siquis erit, qui turpe putet servire puellae,
    illo convincar iudice turpis ego!
sim licet infamis, dum me moderatius urat,
    quae Paphon et fluctu pulsa Cythera tenet.
atque utinam dominae miti quoque praeda fuissem
    formosae quoniam praeda futurus eram!
dat facies animos. facie violenta Corinna est--
    me miserum! cur est tam bene nota sibi?
scilicet a speculi sumuntur imagine fastus,
    nec nisi conpositam se prius illa videt!
Non, tibi si facies animum dat et omina regni--
    o facies oculos nata tenere meos!--
collatum idcirco tibi me contemnere debes;
    aptari magnis inferiora licet.
traditur et nymphe mortalis amore Calypso
    capta recusantem detinuisse virum.
creditur aequoream Pthio Nereida regi,
    Egeriam iusto concubuisse Numae,
Vulcano Venerem, quamvis incude relicta
    turpiter obliquo claudicet ille pede.
carminis hoc ipsum genus inpar; sed tamen apte
    iungitur herous cum breviore modo.
tu quoque me, mea lux, in quaslibet accipe leges;
    te deceat medio iura dedisse foro.
Non tibi crimen ero, nec quo laetere remoto;
    non erit hic nobis infitiandus amor.
sunt mihi pro magno felicia carmina censu,
    et multae per me nomen habere volunt;
novi aliquam, quae se circumferat esse Corinnam.
    ut fiat, quid non illa dedisse velit?
sed neque diversi ripa labuntur eadem
    frigidus Eurotas populiferque Padus,
nec nisi tu nostris cantabitur ulla libellis;
    ingenio causas tu dabis una meo.

Next: Elegy XVIII: To Macer: To Whom He Excuses Himself For Giving Himself Up Wholly To Erotic Verse.