Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
From Elegies: Book III. Elegia XI.
By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)
 
(Translated by Christopher Marlowe)

Ad amicam a cujus amore discedere non potest.

LONG have I borne much, mad thy faults me make;
Dishonest love, my wearied breast forsake!
Now have I freed myself, and fled the chain,
And what I have borne, shame to bear again.
We vanquish, and tread tamed love under feet,        5
Victorious wreaths at length my temples greet,
Suffer, and harden: good grows by this grief,
Oft bitter juice brings to the sick relief.
I have sustained, so oft thrust from the door,
To lay my body on the hard moist floor.        10
I know not whom thou lewdly didst embrace,
When I to watch supplied a servant’s place.
I saw when forth a tirèd lover went,
His side past service, and his courage spent,
Yet this is less than if he had seen me;        15
May that shame fall mine enemies’ chance to be.
When have not I, fixed to thy side, close laid?
I have thy husband, guard, and fellow played.
The people by my company she pleased;
My love was cause that more men’s love she seized.        20
What, should I tell her vain tongue’s filthy lies,
And, to my loss, god-wronging perjuries?
What secret becks in banquets with her youths,
With privy signs, and talk dissembling truths?
Hearing her to be sick, I thither ran,        25
But with my rival sick she was not than.
These hardened me, with what I keep obscure:
Some other seek, who will these things endure.
Now my ship in the wishèd haven crowned,
With joy hears Neptune’s swelling waters sound.        30
Leave thy once-powerful words, and flatteries,
I am not as I was before, unwise.
Now love and hate my light breast each way move,
But victory, I think will hap to love.
I’ll hate, if I can; if not, love ’gainst my will,        35
Bulls hate the yoke, yet what they hate have still.
I fly her lust, but follow beauty’s creature,
I loathe her manners, love her body’s feature.
Nor with thee, nor without thee can I live,
And doubt to which desire the palm to give.        40
Or less fair, or less lewd would thou might’st be:
Beauty with lewdness doth right ill agree.
Her deeds gain hate, her face entreateth love;
Ah, she doth more worth than her vices prove!
Spare me, oh, by our fellow bed, by all        45
The gods, who by thee, to be perjured fall.
And by thy face to me a power divine,
And by thine eyes whose radiance burns out mine!
Whate’er thou art, mine art thou: choose this course,
Wilt have me willing, or to love by force.        50
Rather I’ll hoist up sail, and use the wind,
That I may love yet, though against my mind.
 
 
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