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THOUGH I am sitting here, it's not in the least because I am interested in the racing; all the same! I want your favourite to win. What I've come here for is to talk to you, to sit near you and to tell you how tremendously I love you. So you are looking at the races, I am looking at you. Let us both enjoy the sight that pleases, both drink our fill of delight. He's a lucky fellow, the man you back; he has the good fortune to enlist your interest. I wish I had his chance; like a flash I should be at the starting-post, and let my horses run clean away with me. Here, I'd shake the reins about their necks, here, I'd let them feel the whip, then round I'd go within a hair's breadth of the

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turning-post. But if, in my headlong career, I chanced to catch sight of you, I should pull up and the reins would drop from my hands. Ah, how narrowly Pelops escaped falling by a spear at Pisa, through gazing on thy face, Hippodamia! Nevertheless, he won because his mistress favoured him. May all lovers thus triumph when their ladies want them to.

Why do you keep trying to edge away from me? You can't do it; we've got to sit close because of the seats. That's an advantage I owe to the Circus arrangements. But you, there, who are sitting on the other side of this lady, mind what you're about; don't lean on her like that. And you behind there; don't thrust out your legs like that; don't let your hard knee dig into her back. Mind, darling, you're letting your dress drag on the ground. Pull it up a little, or I shall have to do it for you. Ah, jealous dress, how you liked to cover her beautiful legs. Aye, and the longer you looked--oh, you jealous dress, you! Atalanta's legs must have looked like yours, when she was running--no wonder Milanion wanted to catch hold of them--and Diana's too, when, with uplifted dress, she pursueth the wild beasts in the forests, beasts less fearless than herself. Though I never saw them, those legs set me on fire. What would happen if I saw yours? You will be adding fuel to fire, water to the ocean. I can just imagine, from what I've seen, what those other charms are like that you conceal so well under your dainty dress.

Would you like to have a little cool air in your face? If I wave this tablet a little it will refresh you, unless it's the warmth of my passion rather than the warmth of the air that is heating you, and lighting up such a charming flame in your heart. While I've been speaking, a horrid black smut has come and settled on your white dress. Begone, base smudge, from those snowy shoulders. But here they come; keep still and drink it all in. Now's the time to clap; the procession is coming in all its splendour.

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First of all comes Victory, with wings outspread. Be kind to me, O goddess, and help my love to win. Three cheers for Neptune, you rash people that put your trust in the sea. As for me, I don't like it. I prefer my own bit of land. You, my soldier friend, shout loud for Mars, he is your god. I loathe fighting. I love peace and love that thrives with peace. Let Phœbus be propitious to the augurs, and Phoebe to the huntsmen, and you, Minerva, receive the salutations of the craftsmen. And you, ye tillers of the soil, give hail to Ceres and to kindly Bacchus. May Pollux hearken to the gladiators' prayers and Castor to the horseman's. For us, ’tis thee, sweet Venus, thee and the Loves, thy bowmen, that we greet with cheers. Oh, help me, tender goddess; change thou my fair one's heart, that she may let herself be loved. See, Venus nods, and seems to tell me I shall win. What she foretells, tell me yourself, I pray. Hear thou my prayer and--Venus forgive me--you will be greater than that goddess herself. I swear it, and all the gods that shine in that procession I call to witness, you shall ever be my darling mistress. But you've nowhere to rest your legs. Put your toes, if you like, on these bars. They've cleared the course now, and the big races are going to begin. The prætor's just given the signal. The four-horsed chariots are off. I see your favourite. Whoever you favour is bound to win. The very horses seem to guess your wishes. Ye gods, how wide he takes them round the turning-post. Wretched creature, what are you about? Now you've let your rival get ahead of you. He went round ever so much more closely. What are you up to, foolish one? What's the use of a woman's backing you. For heaven's sake pull your left rein hard. Oh, he's an idiot, our man. Come on, Romans, have him back, wave your togas there. See they're calling him back. But mind they don't ruffle your hair, waving their togas about like that; come and hide your head in the folds of mine.

Look, now they're starting again, the bars are down.

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[paragraph continues] Here they come, with their different colours, driving like mad. Beat them this time, anyhow; you've got a clear field in front of you. See that my mistress has her way, and see that I have mine. Well, she's got hers; but I must wait. He's won. Now I must see what I can do. She smiled, the darling, and there was a promise in her look. That's enough for here. Elsewhere you'll let me have the rest.


'Non ego nobilium sedeo studiosus equorum;
    cui tamen ipsa faves, vincat ut ille, precor.
ut loquerer tecum veni, tecumque sederem,
    ne tibi non notus, quem facis, esset amor.
tu cursus spectas, ego te; spectemus uterque
    quod iuvat, atque oculos pascat uterque suos.
O, cuicumque faves, felix agitator equorum!
    ergo illi curae contigit esse tuae?
hoc mihi contingat, sacro de carcere missis
    insistam forti mente vehendus equis,
et modo lora dabo, modo verbere terga notabo,
    nunc stringam metas interiore rota.
si mihi currenti fueris conspecta, morabor,
    deque meis manibus lora remissa fluent.
at quam paene Pelops Pisaea concidit hasta,
    dum spectat vultus, Hippodamia, tuos!
nempe favore suae vicit tamen ille puellae.
    vincamus dominae quisque favore suae!
Quid frustra refugis? cogit nos linea iungi.
    haec in lege loci commoda circus habet--
tu tamen a dextra, quicumque es, parce puellae;
    contactu lateris laeditur ista tui.
tu quoque, qui spectas post nos, tua contrahe crura,
    si pudor est, rigido nec preme terga genu!
Sed nimium demissa iacent tibi pallia terra.
    collige--vel digitis en ego tollo meis!
invida vestis eras, quae tam bona crura tegebas;
    quoque magis spectes--invida vestis eras!
talia Milanion Atalantes crura fugacis
    optavit manibus sustinuisse suis.
talia pinguntur succinctae crura Dianae
    cum sequitur fortes, fortior ipsa, feras.
his ego non visis arsi; quid fiet ab ipsis?
    in flammam flammas, in mare fundis aquas.
suspicor ex istis et cetera posse placere,
     quae bene sub tenui condita veste latent.
Vis tamen interea faciles arcessere ventos?
    quos faciet nostra mota tabella manu.
an magis hic meus est animi, non aeris aestus,
    captaque femineus pectora torret amor?
dum loquor, alba levi sparsa est tibi pulvere vestis.
    sordide de niveo corpore pulvis abi!
Sed iam pompa venit--linguis animisque favete!
    tempus adest plausus--aurea pompa venit.
prima loco fertur passis Victoria pinnis--
    huc ades et meus hic fac, dea, vincat amor!
plaudite Neptuno, nimium qui creditis undis!
    nil mihi cum pelago; me mea terra capit.
plaude tuo Marti, miles! nos odimus arma;
    pax iuvat et media pace repertus amor.
auguribus Phoebus, Phoebe venantibus adsit!
    artifices in te verte, Minerva, manus!
ruricolae, Cereri teneroque adsurgite Baccho!
    Pollucem pugiles, Castora placet eques!
nos tibi, blanda Venus, puerisque potentibus arcu
    plaudimus; inceptis adnue, diva, meis
daque novae mentem dominae! patiatur amari!
    adnuit et motu signa secunda dedit.
quod dea promisit, promittas ipsa, rogamus;
    pace loquar Veneris, tu dea maior eris.
per tibi tot iuro testes pompamque deorum,
    te dominam nobis tempus in omne peti!
Sed pendent tibi crura. potes, si forte iuvabit,
    cancellis primos inseruisse pedes.
maxima iam vacuo praetor spectacula circo
    quadriiugos aequo carcere misit equos.
cui studeas, video. vincet, cuicumque favebis.
    quid cupias, ipsi scire videntur equi.
me miserum, metam spatioso circuit orbe!
    quid facis? admoto proxumus axe subit.
quid facis, infelix? perdis bona vota puellae.
    tende, precor, valida lora sinistra manu!
favimus ignavo--sed enim revocate, Quirites,
    et date iactatis undique signa togis!
en, revocant!--ac ne turbet toga mota capillos,
    in nostros abdas te licet usque sinus.
Iamque patent iterum reserato carcere postes;
    evolat admissis discolor agmen equis.
nunc saltem supera spatioque insurge patenti!
    sint mea, sint dominae fac rata vota meae!
Sunt dominae rata vota meae, mea vota supersunt.
    ille tenet palmam; palma petenda mea est.'
Risit, et argutis quiddam promisit ocellis.
    'Hoc satis est, alio cetera redde loco!'

Next: Elegy III: To His Mistress, Whom He Has Found To Be Forsworn.