John Palcewski's Journal

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Ovid's Elegia V
forioscribe




Christopher Marlowe's Translation
of Ovid's Elegia V:
Corinnae concubitus


In summers heate and mid-time of the day
To rest my limbes upon a bed I lay,
One window shut, the other open stood,
Which gave such light as twinkles in a wood,
Like twilight glimpse at setting of the Sunne,
Or night being past, and yet not day begunne.
Such light to shamefast maidens must be showne,
Where they may sport, and seeme to be unknowne.
Then came Corinna in a long loose gowne,






Her white neck hid with tresses hanging downe,
Resembling fayre Semiramis going to bed,
Or Layis of a thousand lovers sped.
I snatcht her gowne: being thin, the harme was small,
Yet strived she to be covered therewithall.
And striving thus as one that would be cast,
Betrayde her selfe, and yeelded at the last.
Starke naked as she stood before mine eye,





Not one wen in her body could I spie.
What armes and shoulders did I touch and see,
How apt her breasts were to be prest by me.
How smooth a belly under her wast saw I,
How large a legge, and what a lustie thigh?
To leave the rest, all liked me passing well,
I clinged her naked body, downe she fell,
Judge you the rest, being tirde she bad me kisse;
Jove send me more such after-noones as this.


Original:

Aestus erat, mediamque dies exegerat horam;
adposui medio membra levanda toro.
pars adaperta fuit, pars altera clausa fenestrae;
quale fere silvae lumen habere solent,
qualia sublucent fugiente crepuscula Phoebo,
aut ubi nox abiit, nec tamen orta dies.
illa verecundis lux est praebenda puellis,
qua timidus latebras speret habere pudor.
ecce, Corinna venit, tunica velata recincta,
candida dividua colla tegente coma--
qualiter in thalamos famosa Semiramis isse
dicitur, et multis Lais amata viris.
Deripui tunicam--nec multum rara nocebat;
pugnabat tunica sed tamen illa tegi.
quae cum ita pugnaret, tamquam quae vincere nollet,
victa est non aegre proditione sua.
ut stetit ante oculos posito velamine nostros,
in toto nusquam corpore menda fuit.
quos umeros, quales vidi tetigique lacertos!
forma papillarum quam fuit apta premi!
quam castigato planus sub pectore venter!
quantum et quale latus! quam iuvenale femur!
Singula quid referam? nil non laudabile vidi
et nudam pressi corpus ad usque meum.
Cetera quis nescit? lassi requievimus ambo.
proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies!




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I enjoyed the poem tremendously, and your accompanying photos are beautiful.

Kind of you to say, thanks!

Happy birthday, John... I'm almost ready with the translation, you know, it is a poetry text, almost hard to find the right English translation, but... I'm trying. It will be my gift for your birthday, in the meantime have you a good day!

Maestro, many thanks for taking the time to do this for me. It will be a great birthday gift!


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