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Lamentation of Ovid's family when he was going into exile.
Dum loquor, et flemus, caelo nitidissimus alto,
Et pars abrumpi corpore visa suo est.
Tum vero exoritur clamor, gemitusque meorum ; 5
Non potes avelli, simul, ah! simul ibimus, inquit !
Te jubet a patriâ discedere Caesaris ira;
The ship which bore Ovid into exile.
Est mihi, sitque, precor, flavae tutela Minervae
Sive opus est velis, minimam bene currit ad auram;
1 Et mihi, etc. "For me, too, the road is made," i.e. "I will accompany my husband on his journey." Below, "haec pietas," etc., means that the affection of Ovid's wife for him will be as strong a reason for her going with him as Caesar's anger was for his going himself.
2 Casside. The name of the ship was "Cassis" the "Helmet," and the vessel apparently had a helmet for its figure-head. The name of the vessel which conveyed St. Paul and his companions from Melita to Puteoli was "Castor and Pollux."
Nec comites volucri contenta est vincere cursu; 5
Illa Corinthiacis primum mihi cognita Cenchris 2
Nunc quoque tuta, precor, vasti secet ostia Ponti;
To his mistress.
Accipe, per longos tibi qui deserviat annos;
Si me non veterum commendant magna parentum
1 Occupat. "It overtakes ves- Wallachia, Transylvania, part sels which had left port no of Moldavia, Hungary, etc. matter how long before. cupare" often means "to seize first, anticipate, get the start of." Dogs are said ". occupare feram" when they close with the quarry before it can do any harm. So "Occupare ense canes,' to kill dogs before they do any mischief.
2 Cenchris. Cenchreae (or Cenchrae) was the port of, Corinth on the Saronic Gulf. Below, the Getae were the same as the Daci, who occupied
3 Eques. The father of Ovid was of equestrian rank only; and the meaning is, that Ovid had no illustrious ancestry to recommend him, and nothing higher than a knight's position. Here he makes little of equestrian rank, but elsewhere he makes much of it; and speaks of his rank with pride (Trist. iv. 10, 7): "Si quid id est usque a proavis vetus ordinis heres non modo fortunae munere factus eques."
At Phoebus, comitesque novem,1 vitisque repertor
Hoc faciant; et, me qui tibi donat, Amor; Et nulli cessura fides: sine crimine mores;
Nudaque simplicitas, purpureusque pudor. Non mihi mille placent: 2 non sum desultor Amoris. Tu mihi (si qua fides) cura perennis eris: Tecum, quos dederint annos mihi fila sororum, Vivere contingat; teque dolente mori.
Monstra maris Sirenes erant ; quae voce canorâ
Res est blanda canor: discat cantare puella;
Nec plectrum dextrâ, citharam tenuisse sinistrâ
1 Comitesque novem. The nine Muses. For “vitisque repertor," cf. Macaulay's phrase:
"And Liber loves the vine."
2 Mille placent. Sc. "puellae." Below, "desultor" is one who rides two horses, and shifts from one to the other: hence a a vagrant follower," as here; one whose allegiance cannot be relied on.
3 Sirenes. Sea nymphs, possessed of such melodious powers of song, that voyagers hearing them, lingered near, unable to
tear themselves away, until they
"Affixit ceras illa de nave petitas
Saxa tuo cantu, vindex 1 justissime matris,
Quamvis mutus erat, voci favisse putatur
Dic age frigoribus quare novis incipit annus,
when hurled into the sea by the sailors of the ship in which he was sailing home, by his melody induced a dolphin to take him on his back, and convey him safely to shore."
Incipiendus. "Incipere" was neuter in the line before, and is now assumed to be active, as the passive form "incipiendus shows; for the word does not méan "which would begin (incepturus), but "ought to be begun." In fact, "incipiendus melius" is an odd phrase, for it can only mean "which ought to be begun more judiciously," where "ought to be begun" is evidently complete in sense, without the addition of 66 judiciously." Either "incipiendus," or "melius incepturus," would convey a proper meaning. Below, "amicitur " refers to the custom alluded to before of wedding the vines to elms and other trees,
Et tepidum volucres concentibus aëra mulcent,
Ante Jovem genitum terras habuisse feruntur
1 Bruma. That is "brevissima" (dies) the winter solstice. Ovid supposes the sun to begin a new course on that day; which is a purely arbitrary assumption, and explains nothing.
2 Arcades. The last syllable, the form being a Greek one, is short otherwise, it would be long, as nubes, lapides, etc. Arcadia was a mountainous country in the very centre of the Peloponnesus (Morea). Below, "nullos agitata per usus means "spent without any of
the results of civilization." "Agere (or "agitare") tempus," or "aevum," is a common expression for "to pass time."
Corpus. A Greek accusative of respect, expressing the area over which the action of the verb extends: "clad as to its body." So "Nube candentes humeros amictus" (Hor. Carm. i. 2). People had not yet learnt to shear off the wool of sheep for manufacturing purposes,