Est quaedam (quīcumque volet cognōscere lēnam,
audiat), est quaedam nōmine Dipsas anus.
ex rē nōmen habet: nigrī nōn illa parentem
Memnonis in roseīs sōbria vīdit equīs.
illa magās artēs Aeaeaque carmina nōvit,5
inque caput liquidās arte recurvat aquās;
scit bene quid grāmen, quid tortō concita rhombō
līcia, quid valeat vīrus amantis equae.
cum voluit, tōtō glomerantur nūbila caelō;
cum voluit, pūrō fulget in orbe diēs.10
sanguine, sī qua fidēs, stillantia sīdera vīdī;
purpureus Lūnae sanguine vultus erat.
hanc ego nocturnās versam volitāre per umbrās
suspicor et plūmā corpus anīle tegī.
suspicor, et fāma est; oculīs quoque pūpula duplex15
fulminat et geminō lūmen ab orbe venit.
ēvocat antīquīs proavōs atavōsque sepulcrīs
et solidam longō carmine findit humum.
haec sibi prōposuit thalamōs temerāre pudīcōs;
nec tamen ēloquiō lingua nocente caret.20
fors mē sermōnī testem dedit; illa monēbat
tālia (mē duplicēs occuluēre forēs):
'scīs here tē, mea lūx, iuvenī placuisse beātō?
haesit et in vultū cōnstitit usque tuō.
et cūr nōn placeās? nūllī tua fōrma secunda est.25
mē miseram! dignus corpore cultus abest.
tam fēlix essēs quam fōrmōsissima vellem:
nōn ego tē factā dīvite pauper erō.
stella tibi oppositī nocuit contrāria Mārtis;
Mārs abiit; signō nunc Venus apta suō.30
prōsit ut adveniēns, ēn aspice: dīves amātor
tē cupiit; cūrae, quid tibi dēsit, habet.
est etiam faciēs, quā sē tibi comparet, illī:
sī tē nōn ēmptam vellet, emendus erat.
ērubuit! decet alba quidem pudor ōra, sed iste,35
sī simulēs, prōdest; vērus obesse solet.
cum bene dēiectīs gremium spectābis ocellīs,
quantum quisque ferat, respiciendus erit.
forsitan immundae Tatiō rēgnante Sabīnae
nōluerint habilēs plūribus esse virīs;40
nunc Mārs externīs animōs exercet in armīs,
at Venus Aenēae rēgnat in urbe suī.
lūdunt fōrmōsae: casta est quam nēmō rogāvit;
aut, sī rūsticitās nōn vetat, ipsa rogat.
hās quoque, quae frontis rūgās in vertice portant,45
excute, dē rūgīs crīmina multa cadent.
Pēnelopē iuvenum vīrēs temptābat in arcū;
quī latus argueret corneus arcus erat.
lābitur occultē fallitque volātilis aetās,
ut celer admissīs lābitur amnis aquīs.50
aera nitent ūsū, vestis bona quaerit habērī,
cānēscunt turpī tēcta relicta sitū:
fōrma, nisi admittās, nūllō exercente senēscit;
nec satis effectūs ūnus et alter habent.
certior ē multīs nec tam invidiōsa rapīna est;55
plēna venit cānīs dē grege praeda lupīs.
ecce, quid iste tuus praeter nova carmina vātēs
dōnat? amātōris mīlia multa legēs.
ipse deus vātum pallā spectābilis aureā
tractat inaurātae cōnsona fīla lyrae.60
quī dabit, ille tibī magnō sit māior Homērō;
crēde mihi, rēs est ingeniōsa dare.
nec tū, sī quis erit capitis mercēde redēmptus,
dēspice: gypsātī crīmen ināne pedis.
nec tē dēcipiant veterēs circum ātria cērae:65
tolle tuōs tēcum, pauper amātor, avōs.
quī, quia pulcher erit, poscet sine mūnere noctem,
quod det, amātōrem flāgitet ante suum.
parcius exigitō pretium, dum rētia tendis,
nē fugiant; captōs lēgibus ūre tuīs.70
nec nocuit simulātus amor: sine crēdat amārī
et cave, nē grātīs hic tibi constet amor.
saepe negā noctēs: capitis modo finge dolōrem;
et modo, quae causās praebeat, Īsis erit.
mox recipe, ut nūllum patiendī colligat ūsum75
nēve relentēscat saepe repulsus amor.
surda sit ōrantī tua iānua, laxa ferentī;
audiat exclūsī verba receptus amāns;
et quasi laesa prior nōnnumquam īrāscere laesō:
vānēscit culpā culpa repēnsa tuā.80
sed numquam dederis spatiōsum tempus in īram:
saepe simultātēs īra morāta facit.
quīn etiam discant oculī lacrimāre coactī,
et faciant ūdās illa vel illa genās;
nec, sī quem fallēs, tū periūrāre timētō:85
commodat in lūsūs nūmina surda Venus.
servus et ad partēs sollers ancilla parentur,
quī doceant aptē quid tibi possit emī,
et sibi pauca rogent: multōs sī pauca rogābunt,
postmodo dē stipulā grandis acervus erit.90
et soror et māter, nūtrix quoque carpat amantem:
fit cito per multās praeda petīta manūs.
cum tē dēficient poscendī mūnera causae,
nātālem lībō testificāre tuum.
nē sēcūrus amet nūllō rīvāle cavētō:95
nōn bene, sī tollās proelia, dūrat amor.
ille virī videat tōtō vēstīgia lectō
factaque lascīvīs līvida colla notīs;
mūnera praecipuē videat quae mīserit alter:
sī dederit nēmō, Sacra roganda Via est.100
cum multa abstulerīs, ut nōn tamen omnia dōnet,
quod numquam reddās, commodet ipsa rogā.
lingua iuvet mentemque tegat: blandīre nocēque;
impia sub dulcī melle venēna latent.
haec sī praestiterīs ūsū mihi cognita longō105
nec tulerint vōcēs ventus et aura meās,
saepe mihi dīcēs vīvae bene, saepe rogābis
ut mea dēfunctae molliter ossa cubent—'
vōx erat in cursū, cum mē mea prōdidit umbra;
at nostrae vix sē continuēre manūs110
quīn albam rāramque comam lacrimōsaque vīnō
lūmina rūgōsās distraherentque genās.
dī tibi dent nūllōsque Larēs inopemque senectam,
et longās hiemēs perpetuamque sitim!
1.8: The Bad Influence
Dipsas is an old woman and a lēna, a stock character of the comic stage variously translated as “bawd,” “procuress,” “brothel-keeper,” or “madam.” A better translation might be “panderess” (if the word were used these days) or perhaps “enabler,” since Dipsas is not actually an employer of prostitutes. [full essay]
1–2: lēnam > lēna -ae, f., "brothel-keeper, madam, procuress, go-between." The lēna, who profited financially from arranging sexual liaisons between men and young women, was a stock character in comedy and mime, and also appeared frequently in love elegy. In this poem, a lena gives advice to a young woman on how to get more gifts out of her lover/clients, as the poet listens from behind a door. Dipsas: "Dipsas by name." nōmine is ablative of specification (AG §418). Dipsas is derived from the Greek διψάς meaning a small snake, the bite of which supposedly makes its victim extremely thirsty. It indicates the "poisonous" nature of the lēna who makes the puella "thirsty" for monetary rewards, and it points to the condition of alcoholism, a stereotypical trait of the lena.
3–4: ex rē: "based on fact," "for good reason," nigrī ... parentem / Memnonis: Dipsas is always drunk at dawn: the mother (parentem) of Memnon, King of Ethiopia (nigri ... / Memnonis), is Aurora, goddess of the dawn, who arrives every morning in a horse-drawn chariot (in roseis ... equis).
5–18: The narrator describes the magical powers of the lēna, which recall those of similar characters in Tibullus and Propertius.
5–6: magās > magus, -a, -um, "magic" (rare; the usual word is magicus). Aeaeaque > Aeaeus -a -um, "of Aeaea." Aeaea was the island of the witch Circe, who used her magical powers to turn Odysseus’ men into animals. carmina: > carmen, carminis n. "chant, spell, incantation." caput: "the source" (of a river). recurvat: the ability to reverse the course of rivers was one of the proverbial powers of witches.
7–8: grāmen > grāmen, grāminis n., "herbs" (a collective singular), especially magical ones. grāmen , licia and virus are all subjects of valeat (line 8). tortō > torqueō, torquēre, torsī, tortum, "to cause to rotate, spin." rhombō > rhombus, -ī m., a wooden object which, when attached to a string and twirled in the air, produced a loud hissing sound, the volume of which depended on the force of the motion. It was used in the mysteries of Dionysus, Cybele, and Demeter, and as a tool of magic (see Theocritus, Idyll 2.30). Cupid is depicted as employing one in a fresco from Pompeii, found in the casa di amore punito. See A. S. F. Gow, "ΙΥΓΞ, ΡΟΜΒΟΣ, Rhombus, Turbo," Journal of Hellenic Studies 54 (1934), pp. 1-13. quid valeat: "what power ... has." vīrus > vīrus, -ī n., "bodily fluid, secretion," especially a magical potion or love charm. amantis equae: "of a mare in heat." The hippomanes was a secretion of mares in heat used in magic. Cupid can be seen holding a rhombus in an evidently humorous wall-painting from Pompeii (in the casa di amore punito). As Mars reaches over from behind in an attempt to grope Venus, Cupid hovers beside the pair, whirring his rhombus. As with this passage in Ovid, the image seems to associate the rhombus, however light-heartedly, with aggressive, coercive love magic.
9–10: cum voluit: cum (also ubi, ut and quandō, with or without -cumque) can be used as an indefinite relative ("whenever") and introduce a conditional relative clause, which functions as the protasis of a condition (AG §542). The condition here is present general, with a perfect indicative in the protasis and present indicative in the apodosis (AG §514d1). tōtō ... caelō: ablative of place where (AG §421). pūrō ... in orbe: orbis can mean "the vault of heaven."
11–12: sī qua fidēs: "if there is any trustworthiness (in me)," supply est; see note on 1.3.16. for a similar claim of credibility. stillantia > stillō -āre, "to drip with" (+ ablative). purpureus: predicate adjective; purpureus can be used of things stained with blood.
13–14: versam > vertō vertere vertī versum, "to transform" (by magic). volitāre > volitō -āre, "to fly around." For the formation of intensive or iterative verbs by adding -tō or -itō, see AG §263.2.
15–16: oculīs: locative, or ablative of place where, used freely in poetry (AG §429.4). pūpula duplex > pūpula, -ae, f. "the pupil" (of the eye); certain remote barbarians were thought to have amazing eyesight because of having double pupils. orbe: "eyeball," contrasted with orbe (10), "vault of heaven."
17–18: antīquīs … sepulcrīs: ablative of place from which (AG §428g). longō carmine: carmen can mean "magical spell" (cf. line 5); longō indicates that the spell is a long and elaborate one. findit > findō, findere, fidī, fissum "to split apart"; this is presumably another way to bring back the spirits of the dead. humum > humus, -ī, f. "earth," modified by the feminine adjective form solidam.
19–20: haec … pudīcōs: "this woman has set herself to defile a pure marriage," ironic because, as emerges from her speech, the "pure marriage" in question is actually a temporary liaison between the narrator, an impecunious poet, and a quasi-prostitute. tamen: take with nocente: "nor did her tongue lack eloquence, harmful though it was."
21–22: mē … dedit: "gave me the opportunity (to be)." occuluēre: "concealed"; perfect 3rd person plural.
23–24: here: "yesterday," a colloquial form of herī; adverb. mea lux: a vocative term of endearment the lēna is using when addressing the puella, similar to our "light of my life." iuvenī … beātō: "a rich young man," dative object of placuisse. The rival for the puella’s attentions is a common figure in love elegy, and the fact that this rival is well off financially gives the narrator a real cause for concern. haesit … tuō: "he stood stock-still and fixed his gaze unwaveringly on your face" (Barsby).
25–26: placeās: potential subjunctive (AG §447.3). nūllī = nūllī formae or formae nūllīus. mē miserum: accusative of exclamation (AG §397d). corpore: either ablative with dignus ("worthy of"), or ablative of separation with abest ("is lacking from").
27–28: tam fēlix essēs: = vellem (ut) tam fēlix esses quam formosissima (es). fēlix here means "wealthy"; for the omission of ut from a substantive clause of purpose with volō, see AG §565a. The personal fortunes of the lēna are tied to those of the puella, i.e., she proposes to be her madam and enrich herself as the puella is enriched.
29–30: stella ... contrāria: stella often means "planet"; in astrology Mars was often the bringer of bad luck, in contrast to Venus. tibi: with nocuit (noceō normally takes a dative), but also with oppositī. oppositī: "hostile, opposed" in the astrological sense; “Mars” here is the god, not the planet. signō nunc Venus apta suō: assume est, "favorable Venus is now established in her own corner of the sky" (Barsby). A bit of astrological lore: Venus has now entered one of the signs of the Zodiac (signō) favorable to her—clearly a good sign for the puella.
31–32: prōsit ut adveniēns, ēn aspice: = en aspice, ut prosit adveniens, "see now, how she helps you by her coming." For ut as an exclamatory adverb (“how!”) see OLD 2b. prosit < prōsum, prōdesse, prōfuī "to be beneficial”; prosit is subjunctive in an indirect question. cūrae, quid tibi dēsit, habet: "he is concerned for what you lack," = habet cūrae quid tibi dēsit; cūrae is dative of purpose ("as a care," see AG §382), used instead of a predicate accusative; the object is quid tibi dēsit.
33–34: est … illī: illī is a dative of possession, "he has," with the subject as the possession. faciēs: faciēs can mean "good looks." comparet: potential subjunctive (AG §447.3). illī: dative of possession (AG §373). sī tē nōn emptam vellet: "if he did not wish to buy your favors." volō in the sense of "want something to be done" can take a perfect passive participle as well as the more usual accusative and infinitive. vellet is imperfect subjunctive in the protasis of a present contrary to fact condition. emendus erat: "he would have to be bought"; i.e., if he wasn’t willing to pay for you, you would be willing to pay for him. We would expect emendus esset, but if the verb in the apodosis of a contrary to fact condition implies a future it can be in the indicative (AG §517 n.1).
35–36: ērubuit!: "she blushed!" spoken as an aside. pudor: the modesty manifested by blushing, which looks good (decet) on a pale complexion. vērus: i.e., vērus pudor. obesse > obsum, obesse, obfuī, "to be a disadvantage" (here used absolutely), i.e., it is a detriment to the trade.
37–38: bene: here "decorously, becomingly." gremium: assume tuum. Downcast eyes are a sign of modesty. quantum quisque ferat: either "you will have to look to see how much each one is bringing," or "however much each one might bring, to that extent (understanding a tantum, implied by quantum) he will have to be esteemed." The first option better preserves the antithesis between deiectīs ocellīs (37) and respiciendus (38). respiciendus erit: supply tibi (AG §196).
39–40: immundae ... Sabīnae: the Sabine women, from Rome’s remote past, were famous for their old-world chastity; Dipsas speaks of them only as unsophisticated. Tatiō regnante: "in the reign of Tatius" (ablative absolute). Titus Tatius was a king of the Sabines, who became king along with Romulus as part of the settlement following the rape of the Sabine women; the story is told in Livy, History of Rome 1.10–11. nōluerint habilēs … esse: "did not wish to offer themselves," literally, "be easy to handle." nōluerint: potential subjunctive, as regularly with forsitan (AG §447.3a). habilēs: there are no obvious parallels for this use of the word, which has physical and sexual overtones at Amōrēs 1.4.37 (habilēs ... papillae).
41–42: externīs ... in armīs: "for wars abroad"; Dipsas regards the wars of the time of Romulus and Titus Tatius as internal ones, since the Sabines had for so long been incorporated into the Roman state. animōs exercet: either "is occupying his energies" (Barsby), or perhaps "is giving brave men some practice" or "is keeping their minds busy." In other words, the husbands are so busy preparing themselves for war that they are paying no attention to their wives’ extramarital activities. exerceō traditionally has associations with military training. Aenēae ... suī: Aeneas was Venus’ son; according to Dipsas that apparently makes sexual freedom all the more appropriate for the Rome of her day.
43–44: lūdunt: lūdō can have an explicitly sexual meaning, "to sport amorously," "to be promiscuous." rogāvit: here with an explicitly sexual meaning, "to proposition." rusticitās: "lack of sophistication," though with an allusion to the simple country living of the Sabine women. ipsa: i.e. (illa) quam nemo rogavit.
45–46: hās: understand fēminās. frontis ... in vertice portant: "on the tops of their their foreheads" (singular for plural). rūgās: "wrinkles," an attribute here of stern matrons, rather than old ones. excute: "shake out" the wrinkles, as if shaking out a garment—a bold metaphor. For the use of an imperative as the equivalent of a protasis in a condition, see AG §521b. crīmina: "many a guilty thought" (Barsby) or "many (sexual) misdeeds." Given the outrageous rewriting of the story of Penelope in the next couplet, the second option is probably meant.
47–48: Pēnelopē: The wife of Odysseus is normally considered a paragon of wifely chastity, but Dipsas gives a much racier and more cynical version of her relationship with her suitors. vīrēs: the plural of vīs, f., which can refer to sexual prowess. temptābat > temptō -āre, "to test, try out." Since in the Odyssey there was only a single archery contest, this may be an inceptive imperfect, indicating that the action has begun but not been completed (AG §471c); but the imperfect also makes sense in the racier alternative version, given the sexual sense of vīrēs, since Penelope could be seen as working through the long list of suitors. in arcū: "with the bow," though arcus was also used to mean "penis," cf. Adams 21 and McKeown ad loc.; in + ablative can mean "bearing" a weapon. qui latus ... arcus erat = arcus qui latus arguerat erat corneus. latus > latus, lateris, n. "side, flank," but here "physical strength, vigor," sometimes in the sexual sense of "prowess," cf. Adams 49 ff., and McKeown ad loc. corneus: "made of horn"; in Homer, the bow of Odysseus was made of horn (a composite bow), but corneus also has an explicitly sexual connotation (Adams 21 and McKeown ad loc).
49–50: lābitur ... aetās: Dipsas changes her subject here (adversative asyndeton, cf. on 1.3.19). Poets, in Latin elegy and throughout western literature, have used the transitory nature of youth (volātile aetās) as an argument in seduction; the tradition is encapsulated in Horace’s carpe diem poem (Odes 1.11), and Marvell’s "To his coy mistress." occultē: "without being noticed" (adverb). fallitque > fallō, fallere, fefellī, falsum "to trick, deceive" but also "elude, be unnoticed." admissīs ... aquīs: admittō can mean "to release, let loose."
51–52: aera: "(pieces of) bronze," i.e. money. ūsū: "from use," i.e., bronze becomes dull if it is not handled. habērī: "to be worn." cānēscunt: "to become white" with dust etc., but here the allusion to the human body, which grows white-haired with age, is even more obvious than in the previous line.
53–54: admittās: admittō can have the specific meaning of "receive a lover." The form can be explained as a generalizing second person singular in an indefinite subjunctive (Barsby), or as the protasis of a future less vivid condition, the apodosis of which is in the present indicative (AG §516b); in the latter case, Dipsas is addressing her mistress directly. This verb harks back to admissīs (50), but with a completely different connotation. nūllō exercente: ablative absolute (AG §420); exerceō here means "to employ, put to use." Just as bronze loses its sheen when it isn’t handled and used (51), so beauty loses its youthful appeal if no one puts it to use sexually. satis effectūs: > effectus, effectūs, m., "result, outcome"; satis here is an indeclinable substantive, with a partitive genitive (AG §346). ūnus et alter: "(just) one or two." Supply amātor with both adjectives. Having only two lovers is not enough; one should have many (multīs, 55) to keep one’s sexual prowess keen and to make a surer profit (certior rapīna, 55).
55–56: Dipsas now turns to her interest in the financial profitability of having lovers. cānīs ... lupīs: both "to gray wolves" and "to white-haired prostitutes." cānus, -a, -um means "white, gray"; lupīs is either from lupus ("wolf") or lupa ("she-wolf" or "prostitute"). dē grege: "from a whole flock."
57–58: iste tuus … vātēs: "that poet of yours." It is finally revealed that the narrator and the puella are lovers, and it is clear that he has been more than simply a casual eavesdropper. The pejorative sense of iste underscores the lena’s scornful contempt for a poet (presumably a man of few financial resources). amātōris mīlia multa legēs: legō here means either "collect" (Barsby) or "read" (McKeown). If "collect" is right, the point is both repetitive and unclear: her mistress will get lots of money (mīlia nummōrum) from a lover, who is different from the poet under discussion. If "read" is right, it comes as a surprise: we expect that a sentence beginning with "many thousands of a lover’s things" (possibly mīlia nummōrum) will conclude with "you’ll receive as presents," but Dipsas concludes with "you will be reading them"—which won’t do either of them any good.
59–60: ipse deus vātum: Apollo. The point of this couplet seems to be that a really good poet, like Apollo, would display obvious signs of worldly success, comparable to Apollo’s golden cloak and lyre, and thus be worthy of attention. pallā: "cloak"; ablative of cause (AG §404) or specification (respect) (AG §418). aureā: here two syllables by synizesis (AG §603c). tractat … fīla: "plucks the strings."
61–62: quī dabit: "he who will give" gifts; the amātor dīves who will give gifts and money to his lover. tibi: dative of reference, expressing point of view: ‘as far as you are concerned’ (AG §378). rēs est ingeniōsa dare: ‘giving takes talent’; dare is a subjective infinitive with est (AG §461b).
63–64: nec tū … /dēspice: = nōlī dēspicere. "Don’t despise the man who has bought his freedom at the price of his head," refers to a former slave who grew rich enough to purchase his freedom. In Ovid’s circles, this was a somewhat disreputable class. capitis: caput can mean "the status of a free citizen." mercēde > mercēs, mercēdis f., "price"; ablative of price (AG §416). redemptus > redimō, redimere, redēmī, redemptum "buy back," especially "buy out of slavery." gypsātī crīmen ināne pedis: supply est; "the accusation of (having had) a foot whitened with gypsum is pointless," i.e., "the taint of slavery." When foreign slaves were put up for sale for the first time their feet were whitened with gypsum. The genitive is perhaps best described as appositional (AG §343d).
65–66: ātria: "atrium" (the main reception room in a Roman house); the plural is regularly used for the singular in poetry. cērae: "wax portrait busts," but here a reference to the imagines, wax masks of distinguished ancestors placed in the atrium of an aristocratic Roman house; to say that a a Roman had imagines was to say that he was a member of the senatorial aristocracy. tolle … tēcum: "pick up and take with you (as you leave)." Note the harsh alliteration of the "t" sounds, emphasizing the lēna’s contempt for potential suitors who offer a lover nothing more than an illustrious ancestry. avōs: a reference to the ancestors (65, veterēs circum ātria cērae) in whom a patrician would put so much stock.
67–68: qui = (ille) qui. Dipsas now turns to suitors who are so good-looking that they think they don’t need to offer presents (or payment) for a night with the girl. quod det, amātōrem flāgitet ante suum: "let him first demand something from his own lover to give (to you)." Flāgitet (hortatory subjunctive) > flāgitō -āre, "to ask for repeatedly"; it can take a double accusative, "ask someone for something" (AG §396). The lēna makes the assumption that, if the potential lover is handsome, he has an amātor of his own from whom he can wheedle the money he needs to pay her; she should never give away her charms for free.
69–70: parcius: "sparingly"; comparative neuter accusative singular, which is the regular comparative adverb. exigitō: "demand payment"; future imperative (from the language of Roman law and religion). lēgibus ure tuīs: "torment them on your own terms." lēgibus is probably ablative of specification (respect), which can include expressions indicating that in accordance with which a thing is done (AG §418). Smitten Roman lovers were often said to be subject to the lēgēs of their mistresses. ūrō is used especially of causing lovers to burn with passion.
71–72: nocuit: gnomic perfect used sometimes to indicate that what has been true in the past is always true; translate as a present or present perfect (AG §475). sine crēdat amārī: "permit him to believe he is loved." cave: imperative of caveō, here as often with a short e (iambic shortening, a feature of colloquial speech). Prohibition can regularly be expressed by cave + present subjunctive, but cave nē sometimes occurs (AG §450 n.2). nē grātīs hic tibi constet amor: "lest this love be worth nothing to you," "lest you charge nothing for this love." grātīs is the ablative plural of grātia, usually occurring in this syncopated form (instead of gratiīs), and (as in English) means "without payment, for nothing." For the ablative of price, see AG §416.
73–74: capitis … dolōrem: "a headache." modo ... modo: "now X, now Y." causās: causa here means "excuses" (for not giving sex). Īsis: the Egyptian goddess Isis, whose worship was popular in Rome and required an annual period of sexual abstinence from her followers.
75–76: recipe: supply eum. colligat: colligō here means "acquire" (by natural processes). patiendī … ūsum > ūsus, ūsūs, m. "frequent practice," i.e., so that he doesn’t become accustomed to abstinence. relentēscat > relentēscō, -ere, "slacken, become less ardent" (rare). saepe: take with repulsus.
77–78: ōrantī … ferentī: understand amātōrī with both participles; dative of reference or, more specifically, dative of disadvantage (ōrantī) and dative of advantage (ferentī) (AG §376). ferentī: understand a direct object, such as dōna. exclūsī = amantis exclūsī, i.e. the failed rival of the successful lover. amāns > amāns, amantis, m. "lover" (not the participle).
79–80: et quasi … laesō: "sometimes, when he is offended, be angry with him, as if you were offended first." īrascere: singular imperative. laesō = amantī laesō, dative, with īrascere. culpā culpa: polyptoton, or repetition of a word in a different form; the first culpā is ablative, with tuā, and the second is nominative. Translators treat culpa as though it meant "accusation," which produces clearer English, but the point is really that the sense of guilt (which the woman would otherwise feel) disappears when balanced by the sense of guilt felt by the man that she had inspired (hence tuā). repēnsa > rependō, rependere, rependī, repēnsum, "to make up for, balance."
81–82: numquam dederis: prohibition can be expressed by nē + the perfect subjunctive, and other negatives can be used instead (AG §450 n.4). in īram: in with a verb of spending can mean "upon." saepe … facit: "prolonged anger often creates bitterness" (Barsby). moror, morārī = "dwell on in thought or utterance" (OLD 11c). simultās -tātis f. is a state of animosity, a feud, which is not the puella’s goal.
83–84: quīn etiam: "and in fact"; when used to introduce a statement confirming what has just been said, quīn is often strengthened by etiam. coactī: "on demand," literally, "when compelled," from cogō. illa vel illa: supply (alia) puella for both adjectives. She is supposed to act as though the other girlfriends were making her cry.
85–86: commodat ... nūmina surda Venus: either "Venus turns a deaf ear" when lovers swear falsely (literally, "a deaf Venus lends her divinity"); or "Venus lends her deaf divinity"—a play on "lends an ear," aurem commodāre); or "Venus arranges that the gods be deaf to" lovers’ perjuries (taking commodāre in the sense of "provide" a witness at a trial, etc. (Sallust, Bellum Catilinae 16.2). in lūsūs: "for the games of love."
87–88: ad partēs ... parentur: ad partēs parāre means "to prepare one’s part / role" (in a play). sollers: "clever, skilled"; construed with servus as well as with ancilla. quī doceant: understand illum (i.e. her boyfriend); relative clause of purpose.
89–90: rogent ... rogābunt: the subjects are servus and ancilla. multōs: rogō can take an accusative of the person asked for a thing, as well as an accusative of the thing asked for. stipula > stipula, -ae, f. "stubble," i.e., what is left over after the grain harvest. acervus: "heap, pile," esp. a pile of money. Dipsas is looking at the situation from the slaves’ point of view: if the servus and the ancilla get a little bit from a lot of boyfriends (multōs), it mounts up.
91–92: carpat > carpō, carpere, carpsī, carptum normally "to pluck, harvest," but here "despoil, fleece." fit cito per multās praeda petīta manūs = praeda petīta per multās manūs cito fit; fit cito here means "quickly accumulates" or "is quickly produced." The whole process of plundering the boyfriend by servants and relatives alike will be successful when there are a lot of people involved.
93–94: nātālem: supply diem; "birthday." lībō: "cake," usually offered as a sacrifice, especially on birthdays; hence, not quite our "birthday cake." testificāre > testificor -ārī, here "give proof of." Singular imperative: "Indicate by a cake that it is your birthday."
95–96: nē ... cavētō = cavētō nē nūllō rīvāle sēcūrus amet. The subject of amet is ille, i.e. the boyfriend. rīvālis, -is, m. and f. "rival" (in love). cavētō nē is a variant of cavē nē, for which see on line 72 above. nūllō rīvāle: ablative absolute (AG §420). nōn bene, sī tollās proelia, dūrat amor: this has the ring of a proverbial truism. proelia: "battle." For military imagery in love poetry see especially the next poem.
97–98: tōtō ... lectō: suggesting that their sexual activities had been particularly energetic. factaque … livida colla: "and your neck made purple."
99–100: mīserit: future perfect. Sacra roganda Via est: the Via Sacra was the principal street of the Roman Forum, but it was also notable for both jewelry shops and prostitutes. Here a girl could easily acquire tokens of an "imaginary" lover’s affections (Ryan/Perkins).
101–102: ut nōn tamen = ita tamen ut nōn "but without its happening that," "yet not with the result that"; for the use of a result clause in a restrictive sense, see AG §537b. quod numquam reddās, commodet ipsa rogā = ipsa rogā ut commodet id quod numquam reddās. For the omission of ut with verbs of commanding, etc., see AG §565a. Here commodō has its original sense of "lend"; ask him to lend you things that you do not have the intention of returning.
103–104: lingua … tegat: "let your tongue assist and conceal your intentions." blandīre noceque: both imperatives. impia sub dulcī melle venēna latent: another terse sentiment that carries the authority of a proverb.
105–106: praestiterīs: "bring to bear, apply"; for the long final syllable see on 1.4.31. nec tulerint: supply sī; a continuation of the protasis of the preceding line.
107–108: mihi dīcēs vīvae bene: "you will speak well of me (or kindly to me) while I am alive." benedīcō is a verb taking the dative, and Ovid here splits it into its parts, perhaps to emphasize the key word vīvae. dēfunctae: "when I have died," parallel to vīvae in the previous line. molliter ... cubent: where we say "rest in peace" the Romans said "rest comfortably"; the formula sit tibi terra levis was common on tombstones, often abbreviated s.t.t.l.
109–110: in cursū: "in full flow" (Barsby). Probably the metaphor is of a river, but the word was often used of speech (OLD 3d). mē mea prōdidit umbra: the narrator’s lurking presence has been discovered. sē continuēre manūs = continuērunt; the narrator reacts angrily but with restraint to the advice Dipsas has been giving to his girlfriend. continuēre: "restrained" (perfect); followed by the quin clause below.
111–112: quīn ... / ... distraherentque: "from ripping apart"; quīn here is a conjunction introducing a clause of hindrance (AG §558). rāram comam: "thin / sparse hair." vīnō: ablative of cause with lacrimōsa (AG §404).
113–114: dī tibi dent … : the narrator puts a curse on Dipsas; dent is hortatory subjunctive. nūllōsque Larēs > Lār, Laris, m. "Lar, household god"; in the plural it often (as here) means "home"; the use of -que … -que (instead of et … que) is poetic; i.e., "may the gods render you homeless." sitim > sitis, sitis f. "thirst"; probably the worst part of this curse, since she is an alcoholic.
lēna -ae f.: brothel-keeper, madam, procuress, go-between
Dipsas -adis f.: Dipsas; a kind of serpent whose bite causes violent thirst
anus -ūs f.: old woman, hag; sorceress
Memnōn -onis m.: Memnon
roseus -a -um: rosy
sōbrius -a -um: sober, moderate
magus -a -um: magical5
Aeaeus -a -um: of Aeaea
liquidus -a -um: gliding, flowing
recurvō -āre: bend back; curve backwards
grāmen -inis n.: herbs, especially magical ones
torqueō, torquēre, torsī, tortum: cause to rotate, spin
concitō -āre: stir up, excite
rhombus -ī m.: a wooden object which, when attached to a string and twirled in the air, produced a loud hissing sound, the volume of which depended on the force of the motion
līcium -ī n.: thrum, end of a thread; a thread
vīrus -ī n.: bodily fluid, secretion
equa -ae f.: mare
glomerō -āre: form into a ball; mass together
nūbilum -ī n.: darkness; cloud
pūrus -a -um: clean, pure, innocent
fulgeō fulgēre fulsī: shine brightly, flash10
stillō -āre: drip with
purpureus -a -um: purple
nocturnus -a -um: by night, nocturnal
volitō -āre: fly around
suspicor -ārī: suspect, suppose
plūma -ae f.: feather, down
anīlis -e: of an old woman
pūpula -ae f.: pupil (of the eye)
duplex -icis: double, folded; deceitful, duplicitous15
fulminō -āre: flash like lightning
geminus -a -um: twin, double
ēvocō -āre: call out, summon
proavus -ī m.: great-grandfather; ancestor
atavus -ī m.: grandfather
solidus -a -um: dense, firm, solid
findō findere fidī fissum: split apart
thalamus -ī m.: marriage bed; bedchamber
temerō -āre: violate, desecrate, defile
pudīcus -a -um: modest, chaste, virtuous
ēloquium -i n.: eloquence20
occulō -culere -culuī -cultum: conceal
foris foris f.: door
here: adv., yesterday
haereō haerēre haesī haustum: stick, adhere
cultus -a -um: elegant, polished, sophisticated; cultivated25
formōsus -a -um: shapely, beautiful
oppositus -a -um: hostile, opposed
contrārius -a -um: opposite, opposed
Mārs Mārtis m.: Mars
Venus -eris f.: Venus
ēn: lo! behold!
amātor -ōris m.: lover30
emō emere ēmī emptum: buy, purchase
ērubescō -rubescere -rubuī: grow red, blush35
simulō -āre: pretend; produce, simulate, feign
obsum -esse -fuī: be a disadvantage
dēiciō -icere -iēcī -iectum: cast down
gremium -ī n.: lap, bosom
ocellus -ī m.: a (little) eye
immundus -a -um: unclean, foul
Tatius -iī m.: Tatius
Sabīnus -a -um: Sabine
habilis -e: suitable, fit40
plūs plūris: more
externus -a -um: external, outside; foreign
Aenēās -ae m.: Aeneas
rēgnō -āre: rule, reign; be in control
lūdō lūdere lūsī lūsum: sport amorously, be promiscuous
rusticitās -ātis f.: lack of sophistication
rūga -ae f.: wrinkle
vertex -icis m.: a whirl, whirlwind; summit, top of the head45
excutiō -cutere -cussī -cussum: shake out
Pēnelopē -ēs f.: Penelope
arcus arcūs m.: bow; arch, arc
arguō arguere arguī argūtum: accuse, charge; reveal, prove
corneus -a -um: made of horn
lābor lābī lāpsus sum: fall down, slip
occultē: (adv.) without being noticed
volātilis -e: able to fly, fleeting
admittō -mittere -mīsī -missum: release, let loose50
niteō nitēre nituī: shine, sparkle
cānescō -ere: become white or hoary; become old
situs -ūs m.: site, position; neglect, disuse; rot, mold
senescō senescere senuī: grow old, deteriorate
effectus -ūs m.: result, outcome
invidiōsus -a -um: envious, hateful
rapīna -ae f.: robbery, plundering, pillage55
cānus -a -um: white, gray
grex -egis m.: herd, flock
lūpus -ī m.: wolf
lupa -ae f.: she-wolf; prostitute
palla -ae f.: cloak
spectābilis -e: visible, notable, remarkable
tractō -āre: draw, drag, haul
inaurātus -a -um: gilt
consonus -a -um: harmonious
fīlum -ī n.: thread, string
lyra -ae f.: lyre
Homērus -ī m.: Homer60
ingeniōsus -a -um: talented, naturally clever
mercēs -ēdis f.: price
redimō -imere -ēmī -emptum: buy back; buy out of slavery
dēspiciō -dpicere -spexī -spectum: look down on; be contemptuous of
gypsātus -a -um: whitened with gypsum
inānis -e: empty, void; foolish, trifling
dēcipiō -cipere -cēpī -ceptum: catch; cheat, deceive
ātrium -ī n.: atrium
cēra -ae f.: wax portrait busts65
avus -ī m.: grandfather, forefather
flagītō -āre: ask for repeatedly
parcus -a -um: thrifty, frugal
rēte -tis n.: net, trap
ūrō ūrere ussī ustum: burn70
Īsis -idis f.: Isis, an Egyptian goddess
nēve or neu: and not, nor, and that not, and lest
relentescō -ere: slacken; become less ardent76
repellō repellere reppulī repulsum: drive back, repel
surdus -a -um: deaf
īānua -ae f.: door, entrance
laxus -a -um: wide, loose, spacious
exclūdō -clūdere -clūsī -clūsum: shut out
nōnnumquam: adv., sometimes
vānescō -ere: disappear, vanish
rependō -pendere -pendī -pensum: make up for; balance80
spatiōsus -a -um: wide, spacious, large
simultās -ātis f.: a state of animosity, a feud
lacrimō -āre: weep, shed tears
ūdus -a -um: wet, moisten; dye, colour
gena -ae f.: cheek
periūrō (pēierō) -āre: swear a false oath85
commodō -āre: lend
lūsus -ūs m.: game, amusement
sollers -rtis: clever, skilled
ancilla -ae f.: female slave
postmodo: (adv.) later, presently
stipula -ae f.: stubble
grandis -e: great, large
acervus -ī m.: heap, pile90
nūtrix -īcis f.: nurse
carpō carpere carpsī carptum: pluck, harvest, despoil, fleece
nātālis -is m.: a birthday
lībum -ī n.: cake
testificor -ārī: give proof of
rīvālis -is m.: rival95
dūro -āre: last, endure; harden
lascīvus -a -um: playful; wanton, licentious
līvidus -a -um: bluish; envious
collum -ī n. : neck
nota -ae f.: sign, secret writing
praecipuē: (adv.) especially, particular
blandior blandīrī blandītus sum: (+dat.) flatter, charm103
impius -a -um: impious; wicked
mel mellis n.: honey
venēnum -ī n.: drug, venom; dye
vīvus -a -um: alive, living107
dēfungor -fungī -functus sum: perform, discharge, finish; die
cubō cubāre cubuī cubitum: lie down, recline
lacrimōsus -a -um: tearful
rūgōsus -a -um: wrinkled
distrahō -trahere -traxī -tractum: pull apart, tear to pieces
Lār Laris m.: Lar, hosuehold god
inops -pis: without means; poor, destitute
senecta -ae f.: old age
sitis -is f.: thirst