286px Publius Ovidius Naso











Scilicet ex illo sollemnia more theatra

      Nunc quoque formosis insidiosa manent.

 Nec te nobilium fugiat certamen equorum;                135

      Multa capax populi commoda Circus habet.

 Nil opus est digitis, per quos arcana loquaris,

      Nec tibi per nutus accipienda nota est:

 Proximus a domina, nullo prohibente, sedeto,

      Iunge tuum lateri qua potes usque latus;               140

 Et bene, quod cogit, si nolis, linea iungi,

      Quod tibi tangenda est lege puella loci.

 Hic tibi quaeratur socii sermonis origo,

      Et moveant primos publica verba sonos.

 Cuius equi veniant, facito, studiose, requiras:            145

      Nec mora, quisquis erit, cui favet illa, fave.

 At cum pompa frequens caelestibus ibit eburnis,

      Tu Veneri dominae plaude favente manu;

 Utque fit, in gremium pulvis si forte puellae

      Deciderit, digitis excutiendus erit:                           150

 Et si nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum:

      Quaelibet officio causa sit apta tuo.

Pallia si terra nimium demissa iacebunt,

      Collige, et inmunda sedulus effer humo;

 Protinus, officii pretium, patiente puella                     155

     Contingent oculis crura videnda tuis.

And theatres are still the scene of love.

Nor shun the chariots and the courser's race;

The circus is no inconvenient place.

No need is there of talking on the hands;

Nor nods, nor signs, which lovers understand.

But boldly next the fair your seat provide,

Close as ye can to hers-and side by side.

Pleas'd or unpleas'd, no matter, crowding sit;

For so the laws of public shows permit.

Then find occasion to begin discourse;

Enquire whose chariot this, and whose that horse?

To whatsoever side she is inclin'd,

Suit all her inclinations to her mind;

Like what she likes, from thence your court begin.

And whom she favours, wish that he may win.

But when the statues of the deities

In chariots roll'd, appear before the prize;

When Venus comes, with deep devotion rise.

If dust be on her lap, or grains of sand,

Brush both away with your officious hand.

If none there be, yet brush that nothing thence,

And still to touch her lap make some pretence.

Touch anything of hers, and if her train

Sweep on the ground, let it not sweep in vain;

But gently take it up and wipe it clean;

And while you wipe it, with observing eyes,

Who knows but you may see her naked thighs!




P. Ovidius Naso. Amores, Epistulae, Medicamina faciei femineae, Ars amatoria, Remedia amoris. R. Ehwald. Leipzig. B. G. Teubner. 1907. Perseus.

P. Ovidius Naso. Ovid's Art of Love (in three Books), The Remedy of Love, the Art of Beauty, the Court of Love, the History of Love, and Amours. Anne Mahoney. Edited for Perseus. New York: Calvin Blanchard, 1855. Perseus.


The Fifth Decad

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Cantos LII - LXXI

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