Translations from Ovid's Amores
Laurie Tupper, '08
We who were just five little books of Ovid
Are three now: the author preferred it that way.
Though reading us may be no joy to you,
The punishment's lighter with two of us gone.
Arms and harsh war to sing, in weighty feet,
I planned, my material fitting the pace.
The lower verse was equal—then, 'tis said,
Cupid guffawed and stole a foot.
"Boy, who made you the governor of song?
Muse-gifted seers, we're not your crowd.
Should Venus snatch golden Minerva's arms,
Would golden Minerva wave torches for brides?
Who'd want Ceres to reign in woodsy hills,
The fields to be tilled by the bow-maiden's law?
Who'd give well-coiffed Apollo sharp-tipped shafts
With Mars whacking at the Aonian lyre?
Boy, you've too many and too-mighty realms;
Why all this ambition to try something new?
Or is all yours? Are Helicon's temples yours?
Is Phoebus' lyre itself barely safe?
A new page rose up well in its first verse:
Its neighbor sapped all of the strength from my nerves.
I've no material for lighter feet,
No boy and no girl with her long lovely hair."
So I was moaning, when from opened quiver
He plucked a shaft that was made for my doom,
And bent his bow with force across his knee,
Crying out "Prophet, you'll take what you sing!"
Alas! The boy had arrows swift and sure.
I'm aflame, and Love rules in my once-empty heart.
Let lines rise up in five feet, ebb in four:
Ironclad war with your meter, farewell!
With seaside myrtle deck your golden brow,
O Muse to whom praise must be meted by nines!