Latin · Rome · Translation

Translation: Ovid, away Cupid

Nullus amor tanti est —abeas, pharetrate Cupido!—
ut mihi sint totiens maxima vota mori.
vota mori mea sunt, cum te peccasse recordor,
o mihi perpetuum nata puella malum!

Ovid, Amores, Book II.V, The Latin Library

No love is so great – Go away, Cupid’s quiver! –
that often my greatest wish has been to die.
Death is my wish, when I remember your transgression,
oh girl born (to be) my perpetual misfortune!

Of course, as always, I have left out some words and changed meanings where I desire.

9 thoughts on “Translation: Ovid, away Cupid

      1. It feels very appropriate for my half life. lol. Especially the death lines. 😀

        For today, hmn? Sounds a bit melancholy

        1. As much as I pretend, I am not immune to the occasional whim of romanticism and longing.

          I recover.

  1. I enjoy the emotion in this particular translation. Latin, from where I’m standing almost reads like old chants and one can really feel the age in them, though I know nothing about the language itself. I enjoy reading these poems and the translations you leave for us to dwell on. 🙂

    The first two lines of this one really just seem to grab my attention and the last line leaves me guessing as to what happened. I wonder how the girl transgressed him to the point he wished death? Or was loves quivering arrow the reason he feels this agony? 😉 It makes me think and feel, so I like it.

    1. The girl transgressed most grievously. Ovid’s words in this particular strand are laced with misery and regret. They are such potent words that the very heart and soul ache for him. You see, his woman was not honest or faithful. He caught her furtive glances to others, her indiscretions, when she thought he could not see. And then, worse of all, he caught his woman and this man she had been making eyes at kissing. Not the sort of kisses, Ovid notes, that a brother and sister would share, but rather the kisses of lovers.

      In his anger, he yells at her, abuses her. But she, being a tender and I daresay manipulative woman, gives him a look of grief and fear such that he regrets his harsh actions toward her. Indeed, he begs her for her forgiveness and her kisses, which he is rewarded with readily.

      But still, in the back of his mind, he is aware that her kisses are far too good to have been taught by him. And he knows with painful certainty that someone else must have taught her these kisses.

      1. This is just wide open with cracks my dear. I wonder which he regretted the most… not taking her up and learning the ways of a kiss before she looked on another to fill in the slack? Or not realizing she was a manipulative two timing vixen before he fell for those lovers kisses she passed onto him?

        Strange that some women and men actually enjoy being beaten just to acquire sympathy and work on their partners nerves just to bring out the beast in them.

        I guess I enjoy this one because it is more real than these white dress fairytale endings that leave out the not so sweet side of “love”. Love and loving can be a hellacious battlefield.

        So this is really about his lover? It would have been lovely if Ovid cheated on her with a real woman and had his new lover drag her around a little bit and then leave her behind. Perhaps this is mean of me to think of but it would serve her right.

  2. Oh I like this mood of romantic and longing of yours. Have something dramatic. And you know how much we girls love a good drama.

    So tell me, have Armand read this poem?

    And what mean “Death is my wish, when I remember your transgression,” to you?

    1. I am certain Armand has read the poem. The works of Ovid are immortal and speak to even the modern heart and soul. Plus, I insisted that he read the classics when he was a boy.

      And what mean “Death is my wish, when I remember your transgression,” to you?

      Her transgression is her betrayal that she has been kissing another man. Ovid is saying that when he thinks of her kissing another man, it hurts him so badly that he wants to die.

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