Love and Transformation: My Translation of Ovid Amores 1.3

My reading of Proust has me thinking a lot about Ovid, especially his Amores. I offer here my translation of Amores 1.3:

I pray for righteous things: may the girl who was just snatched

away from me either love me or show me why I should always

love her! Ah, I ask for too much—if only she would allow

herself to be loved, then Venus will have heard all my prayers!

Accept a lover who would devote himself to you for many years;

Accept a lover who knows how to love with pure loyalty!

If my upper class family does not impress you, and if my

equestrian lineage does not impress you, then neither will

my impeccably plowed fields nor my thrifty parents who

regulate my expenses. But Apollo, and his nine Muses,and the

inventor of the grapevines, Bacchus himself, all act on my behalf,

as well as Love itself who has given me to you, and Loyalty which

yields to no one, and morals without a flaw, and naked

simplicity and blushing modesty. A thousand lovers would not

satisfy me, for I’m not the horse-jumper of love; You alone will be

my forever cure, if there is any loyalty. Whatever number of years

the threads of the Fates have spun out for me, let me spend them with

you and may I die first, with you grieving for me. Offer yourself

to me as material fitting for my poems. Brilliant poems will be

produced from your inspiration. Io, frightened by her silly

horns, and the one whom Zeus tricked by pretending to be

a water bird, and even that famous virgin, carried away across the

sea as she held on to the horns of the disguised bull, have all had their

names made famous through poetry. Poets will sing about us

throughout eternity, and my name will always be linked with yours.

There is no way that Proust could not have known and appreciated Ovid’s poetry. I can imagine Proust swooning over Ovid’s treatment of love, indifference, social position, etc. in the Amores.

7 Comments

Filed under Classics

7 responses to “Love and Transformation: My Translation of Ovid Amores 1.3

  1. Severn Meadows

    I’m sure Proust would have appreciated your translations: they certainly give me a lot of pleasure! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Offer yourself to me as material fitting for my poems.”
    Now that is a sentiment Marcel might relate to.

    This is all great stuff, and very much reminds me of The Captive and the Fugitive. Thanks for connecting them for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for pointing out this link between Ovid and Proust. I’m sure you’re right and he knew Ovid well.

    Like

  4. Lovely. Thank you.

    PS. should ‘should’ be ‘she’ in line 3?

    Liked by 1 person

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