Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
From Elegies: Book II. Elegia XVII.
By Ovid (43 B.C.–18 A.D.)
 
(Translated by Christopher Marlowe)

Quod Corinnæ soli sit serviturus.

TO serve a wench if any think it shame,
He being judge, I am convinced of blame.
Let me be slandered, while my fire she hides,
That Paphos, and flood-beat Cythera guides.
Would I had been my mistress’ gentle prey,        5
Since some fair one I should of force obey.
Beauty gives heart; Corinna’s looks excel;
Ah me, why is it known to her so well?
But by her glass disdainful pride she learns,
Nor she herself, but first trimmed up, discerns.        10
Not though thy face in all things make thee reign,
(O face, most cunning mine eyes to detain!)
Thou ought’st therefore to scorn me for thy mate,
Small things with greater may be copulate.
Love-snared Calypso is supposed to pray        15
A mortal nymph’s refusing lord to stay.
Who doubts, with Peleus Thetis did consort,
Egeria with just Numa had good sport.
Venus with Vulcan, though, smith’s tools laid by,
With his stump foot he halts ill-favouredly.        20
This kind of verse is not alike; yet fit,
With shorter numbers the heroic sit.
And thou, my light, accept me howsoever;
Lay in the mid bed, there by my lawgiver.
My stay no crime, my flight no joy shall breed,        25
Nor of our love, to be ashamed we need.
For great revenues I good verses have,
And many by me to get glory crave.
I know a wench reports herself Corinne;
What would not she give that fair name to win?        30
But sundry floods in one bank never go,
Eurotas cold, and poplar-bearing Po;
Nor in my books shall one but thou be writ,
Thou dost alone give matter to my wit.
 
 
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