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Ovid's Amours -- Book I

Elegy 2

Translated by
Thomas Creech

NOTE: Thomas Creech (1659 - 1700), was a translator. and the Head Master of Sherborne School. He translated a few of Ovid's poems, along with other famous persons of his era, for Ovid's Amours


Ah me !    Why am I so uneasy grown?

Ah !   Why so restless on my bed of down?

Why do I wish to sleep, but wish in vain?

Why am I all the tedious night in pain?

What cause is this, that ease, that rest denies?

And why my words break forth in gentle sighs?

Sure I should know if Love had fix'd his dart,

Or creeps he softly in which treacherous art,

And then grows tyrant there, and wounds the heart?

'Tis so, the shaft sticks deep, and galls my breast;

'Tis tyrant Love, that robs my thoughts of rest !

Well, shall I tamely yield, or must I fight?

I'll yield; 'tis patience makes a burthen light:

A shaken torch grows fierce, and sparks arise;

But, if unmov'd, the fire looks pale, and dies.

The hard-mouth'd horse smarts for his fierce disdain.

The gentle is ridden with a looser rein.

Love smoothes the gentle, but the fierce reclaims;

He fires their breast, and fills their soul with flames.

I yield, great Love, my former crimes forgive,

Forget my rebel thoughts, and let me live:

No need of force: I willingly obey

And now unarm'd shall prove no glorious prey.

Go take thy mother's doves, thy myrtle crown,

And, for thy chariot, Mars shall lend his own;

There thou shalt sit in thy triumphant pride,

And wilst glad shouts resound on every side,

Thy gentle hands thy mother's doves shall guide.

And there, to make thy glorious pomp and state,

A train of sighing youths and maids shall wait,

Yet none complain of an unhappy fate.

There newly conquer'd I, still fresh my wound,

Will march along my hands with myrtle bound;

There Modesty, with veils thrown o'er her face,

Now doubly blushing at her own disgrace;

There sober thoughts, and whatsoe'er disdains

Love's rule, shall feel his power, and bear his chains:

Then all shall fear, all bow, yet all rejoice,

Io Triumphe be the public voice.

Thy constant guards, soft Fancy, Hope, and Fear,

Anger, and soft caresses shall be there:

By these strong guards are men and gods o'erthrown;

These conquer for thee, Love, and these alone:

Thy mother, from the sky, thy pomp shall grace,

And scatter sweetest roses in thy face;

There glorious Love shall ride, profusely dress'd

With all the riches jewels of the east;

Rich gems thy quiver and thy wheels enfold,

And hide the poorness of the baser gold.

Then thou shalt conquer many, then thy darts

Shall scatter thousand wounds on tender hearts:

Thy shafts themselves will fly, thy neighbouring fire

Will catch men's breasts, and kindle warm desire.

Thus conquering Bacchus looks in Indian groves,

He drawn by tigers, thou by murmuring doves.

Well then, since I too can increase thy train,

Spend not thy force on me, and rage in vain;

Look on thy kinsman Caesar's happy slaves,

The same victorious arm that conquers, saves.


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