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Vix me continui, quin, sic laniata capillos,
Clamarem, 'Meus est,' injiceremque manus. Læse pater, gaude ; Colchi, gaudete, relicti;
Inferias umbræ fratris habete mei ! Deseror, amissis regno patriâque domoque,
Conjuge, qui nobis omnia solus erat. Serpentes igitur potui taurosque furentes,
Unum non potui perdomuisse virum ?
Non valeo flammas effugere ipsa meas ?
Nil dea, nil Hecates sacra potentis agunt ?
Nec tenero miseram pectore somnus habet. Quæ me non possum, potui sopire draconem ;
Utilior cuivis quàm mihi cura mea est. Quos ego servavi, pellex amplectitur artus,
Et nostri fructus illa laboris habet.
Quæris, et injustis auribus apta loqui,
Rideat, et vitiis læta sit illa meis.
Flebit, et ardores vincet adusta meos.
Hostis Medeæ nullus inultus erit.
Nunc animis audi verba minora meis.
Nec moror ante tuos procubuisse pedes.
Sæviet in partus dira noverca meos.
Et nimiùm similes tibi sunt, et imagine tangor,
Et, quoties video, lumina nostra madent. Per superos oro, per avitæ lumina flammæ ;
Per meritum et natos, pignora nostra, duos : 190 Redde torum, pro quo tot res insana reliqui;
Adde fidem dictis, auxiliumque refer.
Utque tuâ serpens victa quiescat ope;
Cum quo sum pariter facta parente parens. Dos ubi sit, quæris ? campo numeravimus illo,
Qui tibi laturo vellus arandus erat. Aureus ille aries, villo spectabilis aureo,
Dos mea; quam, dicam si tibi, 'redde,' neges : 200 Dos mea tu sospes; dos est mea Graia juventus.
I nunc, Sisyphias, improbe, confer opes. Quòd vivis, quòd habes nuptam socerumque potentem,
Hoc ipsum, ingratus quòd potes esse, meum est.
Attinet? ingentes parturit ira minas.
Et piget infido consuluisse viro.
PUBLIUS Ovidius Naso, one of the most celebrated Latin poets of the Augustan age, was born at Sulmo, a town of the Peligni, in the forty-third year before the Christian era. He was of an equestrian family, and in his youth applied himself to the study of the law; but after practising for a short time in the Forum, he devoted himself with great ardor to literary pursuits, to which his genius had always inclined him. He soon became distinguished as a poet, and for many years continued to enjoy a high reputation at the court of Augustus. At length, at the age of fifty years, he had the misfortune, for some cause now unknown, to offend the emperor, and was banished by him to Tomi, a town near the Black Sea, where he died about eight years after.
Ovid was one of the most voluminous poets of his age, and a large portion of his writings still remains. Of all his poems the Metamorphoses are probably the most useful, and the best known. These were composed before his banishment, and had not, at the time of that event, received their final polish from his hand. On this account, before leaving Italy, he attempted to suppress them; but copies had been so extensively circulated, that he was unable to accomplish his purpose. This work comprises most of the mythological fables of the Greeks and Romans, united in such a manner as to form a regular and connected series.
The Heroides were a happy invention of Ovid, affording him a favorable opportunity to exhibit his knowledge of ancient customs and manners, and his acquaintance with the human heart. They consist, for the most part, of letters feigned to have been written by the most distinguished females of antiquity to their husbands or others to whom they were attached.