by: Ovid (43 BC-17 AD?)
E elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves,
And ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him
When he comes back, you demi-puppets that
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,
Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime
Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid,
Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimm’d
The noontide sun, call’d forth the mutinous winds,
And ‘twixt the green sea and the azur’d vault
Set roaring water; to the dread rattling thunder
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove’s stout oak
With hiw own bolt; the strong-bas’d promontory
Have I made shake, and by the spurs pluck’d up
The pine and cedar; graves at my command
Have wak’d their sleepers, op’d, and let ’em forth
By my so potent art.
EITHER SHE WAS FOOL …
by: Ovid (43 BC-17 AD?)
Or she was not the wench I wished to have had.
Idly I lay with her, as if I loved not,
And like a burden grieved the bed that moved not.
Though both of us performed our true intent,
Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant.
She on my neck her ivory arms did throw,
Her arms far whiter than the Scythian snow.
And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue,
And under mine her wanton thigh she flung,
Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me “Sir,”
And used all speech that might provoke and stir.
Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk,
It mocked me, hung down the head and sunk.
Like a dull cipher, or rude block I lay,
Or shade, or body was I, who can say?
What will my age do, age I cannot shun,
When in my prime my force is spent and done?
I blush, that being youthful, hot, and lusty,
I prove nor youth nor man, but old and rusty.
Pure rose she, like a nun to sacrifice,
Or one that with her tender brother lies.
Yet boarded I the golden Chie twice,
And Libas, and the white-cheeked Pitho thrice.
Corinna craved it in a summer’s night,
And nine sweet bouts we had before daylight.
What, waste my limbs through some Thessalian charms?
May spells and drugs do silly souls such harms?
With virgin wax hath some imbast my joints?
And pierced my liver with sharp needles’ points?
Charms change corn to grass and make it die:
By charms are running springs and fountains dry.
By charms mast drops from oaks, from vines grapes fall,
And fruit from trees when there’s no wind at all.
Why might not then my sinews be enchanted,
And I grow faint as with some spirit haunted?
To this, add shame: shame to perform it quailed me,
And was the second cause why vigour failed me.
My idle thoughts delighted her no more,
Than did the robe or garment which she wore.
Yet might her touch make youthful Pylius fire.
And Tithon livelier than his years require.
Even her I had, and she had me in vain,
What might I crave more, if I ask again?
I think the great gods grieved they had bestowed,
The benefit: which lewdly I foreslowed,
I wished to be received in, in I get me:
To kiss, I kissed; to lie with her, she let me.
Why was I blest? why make king to refuse it?
Chuff-like had I not gold and could not use it.
So in a spring thrives he that told so much,
And looks upon the fruits he cannot touch.
Hath any rose so from a fresh young maid,
As she might straight have gone to church and prayed.
Well I believe, she kissed not as she should,
Nor used the sleight and cunning which she could.
Huge oaks, hard adamants might she have moved,
And with sweet words caused deaf rocks to have loved.
Worthy she was to move both gods and men,
But neither was I man nor lived then.
Can deaf ears take delight when Phaemius sings?
Or Thamyris in curious painted things?
What sweet thought is there but I had the same?
And one gave place still as another came.
Yet notwithstanding, like one dead it lay,
Drooping more than a rose pulled yesterday.
Now, when he should not jet, he bolts upright,
And craves his task, and seeks to be at fight.
Lie down with shame, and see thou stir no more,
Seeing thou would’st deceive me as before.
Then cozenest me: by thee surprised am I,
And bide sore loss with endless infamy.
Nay more, the wench did not disdain a whit
To take it in her hand, and play with it.
But when she saw it would by no means stand,
But still drooped down, regarding not her hand,
“Why mock’st thou me,” she cried, “or being ill,
Why bade thee lie down here against thy will?
Either thou art witched with blood of frogs new dead,
Or jaded cam’st thou from some other’s bed.”
With that, her loose gown on, from me she cast her,
In skipping out her naked feet much graced her.
And lest her maid should know of this disgrace,
To cover it, spilt water on the place.
SEEING THOU ART FAIR
by: Ovid (43 BC-17 AD?)
EEING thou art fair, I bar not thy false playing,
But let not me poor soul know of thy straying.
Nor do I give thee counsel to live chaste,
But that thou would’st dissemble, when ’tis past.
She hath not trod awry, that doth deny it.
Such as confess have lost their good names by it.
What madness is’t to tell night-pranks by day?
And hidden secrets openly to bewray?
The strumpet with the stranger will not do,
Before the room be clear, and door put-to,
Will you make shipwreck of your honest name,
And let the world be witness of the same?
Be more advised, walk as a puritan,
And I shall think you chaste, do what you can.
Slip still, only deny it when ’tis done,
And, before folk, immodest speeches shun.
The bed is for lascivious toyings meet,
There use all tricks, and tread shame under feet.
When you are up and dressed, be sage and grave,
And in the bed hide all the faults you have.
Be not ashamed to strip you, being there,
And mingle thighs, yours ever mine to bear.
There in your rosy lips my tongue entomb,
Practise a thousand sports when there you come.
Forbear no wanton words you there would speak,
And with your pastime let the bedstead creak
But with your robes put on an honest face,
And blush and seem as you were full of grace.
Deceive all; let me err; and think I’m right,
And like a wittol think thee void of slight.
Why see I lines so oft received and given?
This bed and that by tumbling made uneven?
Like one start up your hair tost and displaced,
And with a wanton’s tooth your neck new-rased.
Grant this, that what you do I may not see;
If you weigh not ill speeches, yet weigh me.
My soul fleets when I think what you have done.
And through every vein doth cold blood run.
Then thee whom I must love, I hate in vain,
And would be dead, but dead with thee remain.
I’ll not sift much, but hold thee soon excused,
Say but thou wert injuriously accused.
Though while the deed be doing you be took,
And I see when you ope the two-leaved book,
Swear I was blind; deny, if you be wise,
And I will trust your words more than mine eyes.
From him that yields, the palm is quickly got,
Teach but your tongue to say, “I did it not,”
And being justified by two words think
The cause acquits you not, but I that wink.