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Ut clamata1 silet, montes ululatibus implent,
Attonita est plangore Ceres (modo venerat Hennam)
To the Poet Macer.
Ecquid ab impressae cognoscis imagine cerae
1 Ut clamata, etc. "When thus called, she is silent."
2 Sua mater. "Sua" is here not reciprocal, as generally; but there appears to be a confusion of expression, as though Ovid were thinking of the passive form, "Vitulus a sua matre quaesitus," and then had given
an active turn to the sentence.
3 Ityn. Itys was son of Tereus, a Thracian king, and Procne. He was killed by his mother, and served up at a meal to his father, in revenge for the conduct of Tereus to Philomela sister of Procne.
Quam tu vel longi debes convictibus aevi,
Tu canis 1 aeterno quidquid restabat Homero,
Ne careant summa Troïca bella manu.
Naso parum prudens, Artem dum tradit amandi, 15
Te duce magnificas Asiae perspeximus urbes :
Tecta sub aequorea nunc quoque currit aqua. Hic mihi labentis pars anni magna peracta est: Eheu! quam dispar est locus ille Getis!
Et quota pars haec sunt rerum, quas vidimus ambo, Te mihi jucundas efficiente vias!
1 Tu canis. Aemilius Macer of Verona, Ovid's friend, wrote a poem to supplement Homer's Iliad; and also poems on birds, serpents, and plants.
2 Gigas. Enceladus, according to some. Cf. Verg. iii. 578:"Fama est Enceladi semiustum fulmine
Urgeri mole hac ingentemque insuper
Aetnam Impositam ruptis flammam exspirare caminis."
According to others, Typhoeus was the giant thus punished. Below, "Nymphen" is Arethusa, who was pursued by the river god Alpheus, of Elis; and being changed by Diana into a fountain, had a channel made for her under the sea to Ortygia, an island near Syracuse, in Sicily.
3 Quota pars. "How small a fraction!" Properly, "One part
Seu rate caeruleas picta sulcavimus undas;
Saepe brevis nobis vicibus via visa loquendi;
Est aliquid, casus pariter timuisse marinos;
Ipse quidem extremi cum sim sub cardine mundi, 45
Hic es et ignoras; et ades celeberrimus absens :
above the unfrozen waters of
3 Hic es. In Ovid's fancy.
"Celeberrimus" here is "most
frequently." Translate, "You pay me many a visit, although absent."
4 Redde vicem. "Make a return." "As I recall you in my thoughts here, do you recall me in your thoughts at Rome (regio ista)."
Ovid commands his epistles to go as soon as possible
Vade salutatum 1 subito perarata Perillam
Aut illam invenies dulci cum matre sedentem,
Doctaque non patrio carmina more canis ?
1 Salutatum. An active su pine, used, as always, after a verb of motion. A letter was said to be "perarata," because it was written on waxen tablets by a sharp-pointed "stylus," and so the operation resembled ploughing.
2 Reverti, etc. The infinitive passive: "That I am returned." Below, "in alternos pedes means "elegiacs."
3 Ecquid inhaeres, etc. "Do you still cling at all to our common pursuits?" Ovid and his daughter were both writers of
poetry. Ovid was born at Sulmo, a town of the Peligni, a district not famous for poetical talent. Below, "ratas" is "wellassured, lasting." Good qualities are more certain to last than mere external advantages.
4 Pegasidas... undas. fountain of Hippocrene on Mount Helicon, raised by the stroke of the hoof of Pegasus, the winged horse sprung from the blood of the Gorgon Medusa. Below, "Lesbia" is Sappho, the poetess of Lesbos (about B.C. 600).
Ergo, si remanent ignes tibi pectoris îdem,
"By "devia" is "led astray from the right path."
1 Causa ruboris eram. my reproaches on your indolence in not writing."
2 Secuta. This seems to mean "followed out in fancy; realized as possibly your own." Translate, "After my example, you, too, have realized (as possibly your own) the fate involved in my punishment." Below,
3 Finge sed, etc. your property to be immense, still fortune might in a moment withdraw it from you." Below, Irus was the beggar in the palace of Ulysses, mentioned in the Odyssey.