The Erotic Poems by Peter OvidThe Erotic Poems by Peter Ovid

The Erotic Poems

byPeter OvidTranslated byPeter GreenIntroduction byPeter Green

Paperback | February 24, 1983

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This collection of Ovid's poems deals with the whole spectrum of sexual desire, ranging from deeply emotional declarations of eternal devotion to flippant arguments for promiscuity. In the Amores, Ovid addresses himself in a series of elegies to Corinna, his beautiful, elusive mistress. The intimate and vulnerable nature of the poet revealed in these early poems vanishes in the notorious Art of Love, in which he provides a knowing and witty guide to sexual conquest - a work whose alleged obscenity led to Ovid's banishment from Rome in AD 8. This volume also includes the "Cures for Love," with instructions on how to terminate a love affair, and "On Facial Treatment for Ladies," an incomplete poem on the art of cosmetics.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Ovid (43 BC-AD 17) was born in central Italy. He was sent to Rome where he realised that his talent lay with poetry rather than with politics. His first published work was 'Amores', a collection of short love poems. He was expelled in A.D. 8 by Emperor Augustus for an unknown reason and went to Tomis on the Black Sea, where he died.
Title:The Erotic PoemsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 7.78 × 5.08 × 0.85 inPublished:February 24, 1983Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140443606

ISBN - 13:9780140443608

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18


Read from the Book

The Art of Love Book 1 Should anyone here in Rome lack finesse at love-making, let him Try me—read my book; and results are guaranteed! Technique is the secret. Charioteer, sailor, oarsman, All need it. Technique can control Love himself. As Automedon was charioteer to Achilles, And Tiphys Jason's steersman, so I, By Venus' appointment, am made Love's artificer, shall be Known as The Tiphys, the very Automedon of Love. He's a wild handful, will often rebel against me, But still just a child— Malleable, easily disciplined. Chiron made young Achilles A fine musician, hammered that fierce heart On the anvil of peaceful artistry. So this future terror To friend and foe alike went in awe, it's said, Of his elderly teacher, at whose bidding the hand that in after- Time bore down Hector was held out for the tawse. As Chiron taught Achilles, so I am Love's preceptor: Wild boys both, both goddess-born—and yet Even bulls can be broken to plough, or spirited horses Subdued with bridle and bit. So love shall likewise own my mastery, though his bowshots Skewer my breast, though his torch Flicker and sear me. The worse the wounds, the deeper the branding, That much keener I to avenge Such outrage. Nor shall I falsely ascribe my arts to Apollo: No airy bird comes twittering advice Into my eat, I never had a vision of the Muses Herding sheep in Ascra's valleys. This work is based On experience: what I write, believe me, I have practiced. My poem will deal in truth. Aid my enterprise, Venus! Respectable ladies, the kind who Wear hairbands and ankle-length skirts, Are hereby warned off. Safe love, legitimate liaisons Will be my theme. This poem breaks no taboos. First, then, you fledging troopers in passion's service, Comes the task of finding an object for your love. Next, you must labour to woo and win your lady; Thirdly, ensure that the affair will last. Such are my limitations, such the ground I will cover, The race I propose to run. While you are fancy-free still, and can drive at leisure, Pick a girl, tell her, "you're the one I love. And only you.' But this search means using your eyes: a mistress Won't drop out of the sky at your fee. A hunter's skilled where to spread his nets for the stag, senses In which glen the wild boar lurks. A fowler's familiar with copses, an expert angler Knows the richest shoaling-grounds for fish. You too, so keen to establish some long term relationship, Must learn, first, where girl is to be found. Your search need not take you—belueve me—on an overseas voyage: A short enough trek will bring you to your goal. True, Perseus fetched home Andromeda from the coloured Indies, While Phrygian Paris abducted Helen in Greece, But Rome can boast of so many and such dazzling beauties You'd swear the whole world's talent was gathered here. The girls of your city outnumber Gargara's wheatsheaves, Methymna's grape-clusters, Birds on the bough, stars in the sky, fish in the ocean: Venus indeed still haunts Her son Aeneas' foundation. If you like budding adolescents Any number of (guaranteed) maidens are here to delight Your roving eye. Your prefer young women? They'll charm you By the thousand, you won't know which to choose. And if you happen to fancy a more mature, experienced Age-group, believe me, they show up in droves. Here's what to do. When the sun's on the back of Hercules' Lion, stroll down some shady colonnade, Pompey's, say, or Octavia's (for her dead son Marcellus: Extravagant marble facings, R.I.P.), Or Livia's, with its gallery of genuine Old Masters, Or the Danaids' Portico (note The artwork: Danaus' daughters plotting mischief for their cousins, Father attitudinizing with drawn sword). Don't miss the shrine of Adonis, mourned by Venus, Or the synagogue—Syrian Jews Worship there each Sabbath—or the linen-clad heifer-goddess's Memphian temple: Io makes many a maid what she Was to Jove. The very courts are hunting-grounds for passion; Amid lawyers' rebuttals love will often be found. Here, where under Venus' marble temple the Appian Fountain pulses its jets high in the air, Your jurisconsult's entrapped by love's beguilements— Counsel to others, he cannot advise himself. Here, all too often, words fail the most eloquent pleader, And a new sort of case comes on—his own. He must Defend himself for a change, while Venus in her nearby Temple snickers at this reversal of roles.

Table of Contents

The Erotic PoemsList of Abbreviations
Preface and Acknowledgments

The Amores
The Art of Love
Cures for Love
On Facial Treatment for Ladies

Notes and References
Select Reading List

From Our Editors

The Amores established Ovid as the Augustan period’s leading erotic poet. Here, through a series of brief elegies, he addressed himself to his lovely and elusive mistress, Corinna. Following these poems, the notoriously obscene The Art of Love, Ovid’s finest early work, allegedly led to his banishment from Rome in AD 8. A clever and sophisticated work, The Art of Love is a witty, insightful guide to sexual siege warfare, where pursuit is the game’s ultimate goal. Peter Green’s skillful, sensitive, eloquent translation evokes Ovid’s fertile and diverse poetic vision, his irony and amusement in The Erotic Poems.