Ovidii Ars Amatoria - liber primus

If there is someone who does not know what the art of romance is
   then he should read this book; read and he'll love like a pro.
Art's what impels swift vessels ahead by the sail and by paddle;
   art makes chariots fast; art is the ruler of Love.
Just as Automedon handled the chariot aptly with slack reins,                     5
   as, on Haemonian stern, Tiphys was master at sea,
Venus has made me cunning and skillful at delicate courtship:
   I'm the Automedon, I'm known as the Tiphys of love.
Amor is feral, it's true, and he often repudiates me, but
   he is a boy, and his soft age is disposed to be ruled.                         10
Chiron instructed Achilles the youth in the cithara's modes and
   conquered his untamed mind with the harmonious arts.
He who had utterly frightened as many companions as foes is
   said to have trembled before Chiron the feeble old man.
Hector succumbed to the same hands which, at the schoolmaster's bidding,          15
   that young boy held out, ordered to suffer the whip.
Chiron was master of Aeacus' grandson; I of the Love god.
   One was a merciless child, one was the son of a god.
Nevertheless, as the neck of the bull can be burdened by plowing,
   and as the bit wears down spirited stallions' teeth,                           20
just so will Amor accede to my wishes, despite the distress his
   bow will inflict in my breast, waving his torch in my face.
Amor has pierced me with arrows, and violently scorched me, however
   I will be all the more wroth venging the wounds he has made.
Phoebus, I shall not pretend that you gave me this art as a present,              25
   nor that I've heeded the calls voiced by celestial birds,
nor that the sisters of Clio and Clio herself have been seen by
   me as I tended the flocks, Ascra, in valleys of yours.
This is a work that experience motivates; hark to the prophet;
   truth will I sing: as I start, Mother of Amor, be near.                        30
Stay far, delicate headbands, modest insignia, stay far
   long, chaste dresses that hide even the ankles and feet.
We'll sing songs about innocent lust and admissible intrigue,
   and in the music I write there will be nothing corrupt.
Firstly, the girl you desire to love, you must strive to encounter,               35
   you who are taking up arms now as a soldier of love.
Second, thereafter, your task is persuading the sociable lady;
   thirdly your job is to make sure the affair can endure.
This is my method, and this is the ground that my chariot covers.
   That is the turning-post worn down by the galloping wheels.                    40
While it's allowed, and you're able to go where you please at your leisure,
   pick out the girl to whom you'll say, "you alone I adore."
She won't materialize having fallen through delicate auras:
   suitable girls are to be sought with your very own eyes.
Hunters are experts at setting their traps where deer will be passing,            45
   know in which valleys the boar's apt to be gnashing his teeth.
Bird-catchers recognize fruit trees; fishermen, hanging the barbed hooks,
   know which waters are just swimming with bountiful fish:
you too then, who are seeking the substance of long-term relations,
   first you must learn where the girl's wont to be strolling around.             50
I wouldn't bid you to seek her with sails spread wide to the sea's winds,
   nor, as you'll find, is the road longer than you can endure.
Perseus carried Andromeda all the way back from the Indian ocean;
   Graia the maiden was once saved by a Phrygian boy;
Rome will provide you with so damn many adorable girls that                       55
   you will declare, "She's got everything under the sun."
There are as many estates in Gargara's realm and as many
   vines in Methymna's, and as many the fish in the sea,
birds in the branches and stars in the sky, as girls that your Rome has:
   Venus, Aeneas's mom, founded the city herself.                                 60
If you're enamored of those in their earliest, innocent years,
   then some virginal girl shall be apparent to you.
If, though, you lust for a teen, then a thousand will satisfy you, and
   you'll have a difficult time knowing which one you desire.
If it's maturity or else wisdom which really delights you,                        65
   here too, trust me, a long crowded procession awaits.
Just you go for a stroll in the shade of old Pompey's veranda
   while the sun is upon Hercules' lion's reverse;
or you can go where a mother has added her gifts to the gifts made
   once by her son, works of marble acquired abroad.                              70
Nor should the place be avoided which features the ancient tableaux, the
   portico bearing the name Livia granted to it,
where the descendants of Belus are readying death for their husbands,
   and their father, enraged, stands with a sword in his hand.
Nor should Adonis neglect you, mourned by celestial Venus,                        75
   nor should the Sabbath-day cult, sacred to Syrian jews.
Do not flee from the linen-clad cow of the temple of Memphis:
   she makes many a girl mimic what she was for Jove.
Even the forum's convenient for flirting (but who would believe it?):
   frequently passionate flames burn in the garrulous courts.                     80
There where waters from Venus' temple of marble cascade and
   spill on the Appian way, carried by pulsating airs,
that is a place where lawyers are ofttimes captured by Amor:
   he who for others bewares, doesn't beware for himself!
In that place words frequently fail the articulate speaker;                       85
   new court cases arise; he is the one to be tried.
Venus is laughing at him from her temple, which is her confinement:
   he who was practicing law, now is in need of advice.
Yet, you especially should give chase in the circular theaters.
   These are the grounds which are more fertile for granting your wish.           90
There you'll discover a girl you can love, or one you can play with,
   one you might like in your hands, one you might wish to embrace.
Just as an ant goes backward and forth in a clustering ant trail
   carrying crumbs in his mouth, food it's accustomed to eat,
or as a bee, having lit on meadows and redolent pastures,                         95
   flutters from flower to bloom, blossom to eminent thyme,
thus do elegant ladies precipitate on the renowned games.
   Such is their number that I hesitate, choosing just one.
They go there for the spectacle; they go there to be looked at.
   This is a place where chaste modesty suffers abuse.                            100
You were the one who first made these games, Romulus, stressful,
   when raped Sabines appeased Romans bereft of a wife.
Back then neither were curtains bedraping the theater's marble
   nor was the stage with the red color of saffron imbued.
Only the Palatine's copses provided the fronds of their pine-trees,               105
   laid unpretentiously there; scenery stood unadorned.
Spectators sat on grandstands fashioned from ramparts of earthworks
   carelessly covering their scraggly hair with a frond.
Looking around, each Roman observed with his eyes which girl he
   coveted most, and his heart, silent, was racing with thoughts.                 110
While an Etruscan musician is playing a tune with a shrill flute
   dancers are striking the flat ground with a triple-time foot.
Midst the applause--for applause was entirely genuine back then--
   their king gave them the sign sought for pursuing the spoils.
Forward at once they erupt in a roar which betrays their intentions               115
   forcing acquisitive hands onto the innocent girls.
Just as a panicking cluster of doves flees madly from eagles,
   or as a newborn lamb flees from invidious wolves,
thus were the women evading the men who were rushing upon them;
   And in the pallor of each none of her color remained.                          120
All was a singular fright; but the faces of fright weren't one:
   some girls tear at their hair; others inanimate lie;
one sits silent in grief; one calls for her mother in vain. This
   girl is pursued, that girl gapes; she remains; she escapes.
Ravished, the maidens are led as nuptial prizes away, and                         125
   terror was capable of lending its grace to a few.
And if a girl was extremely unwilling, refusing her partner,
   he took her on his lap, pressing her to his desire.
Then he would say, "Why blemish your delicate eyes with this weeping?
   I'll be for you what your dad was for your mother anon."                       130
Romulus, you knew how to distribute rewards to your soldiers.
   If you will give them to me, I'll be a soldier for you.
And inasmuch as the theater's faithful to this old custom,
   even today it remains risky for ladies of charm.
Nor should the hard-fought contest of elegant horses elude you                    135
   Packed with its crowds, the immense Circus can offer rewards.
There's no need for your fingers to signal your intimate secrets;
   nods won't notify you whether she wants you or not:
just have a seat right next to the damsel without hesitation.
   Let your thighs touch as often as you can allow;                               140
And what is good is how crowded it is, for it forces you closer.
   She'll be compelled to be touched; such are the rules of the place.
Now you must find some topic of pleasant and light conversation.
   Start with the obvious things, which are apparent to you:
ask her about whose horses are those; take casual interest.                       145
   Bet on the horse she bets on, and you win either way.
When the parade of celestial ivory deities passes,
   you should applaud your dame Venus with favoring hands.
As may happen, if by chance dust on the lap of your lady
   settles, then brush it away using the back of your hand.                       150
Even if there's no dust on her, then brush nothing away, for
   every pretext is good: help her as much as you can.
In the event that the hem of her long skirt trails in the dust, then
   gather it carefully up; keep it up out of the dirt.
Firstly, the prize for your diligent cares, with the lady allowing,               155
   is that her visible thighs will have effects on your eyes.
Also be careful that those who are sitting directly behind you
   are not pressing their knees into her delicate back.
Trifling things win over a light mind: many have found it
   useful to fluff up her small pillow with courteous hands.                      160
And it can be advantageous to fan light breezes with small fans.
   Think about placing a stool under her delicate feet.
These opportunities for new romance the Circus can offer,
   and the arena as well, stained like the forum with grief.
Often the child of Venus courageously fights in the sands while                   165
   he who was there for the blood sport has been wounded himself:
as he is chatting and touching her hand, as he asks for the pamplet,
   and is inquiring about whether he won with his bets,
injured severely he groans, and he feels the intangible arrow.
   Thus he himself has become part of the spectacle's fun.                        170
Did not Caesar, to wit, in the image of real sea battles,
   lead in Cecropian ships versus the Persian marine?
Aye, and the boys and the girls came from both sides of the sea to
   see, and the whole wide world crowded the city of Rome.
Who wasn't able to get with the one he desired in that crowd?                     175
   Ah, and how many were wound up in a foreigner's love?
Lo, now Caesar's preparing to add what the empire still lacks:
   soon now, ultimate East, you'll be a province of Rome.
Parthians, you will repent. You, Crassus' ashes, rejoice, and
   you too, Eagles, though you suffered barbarian hands.                          180
He shall be your avenger, the leader proclaimed in his young years,
   waging in youth wars which shouldn't be waged by a boy.
Ignorant cowards, desist from counting the birthdays of gods, for
   virtue has glorified our Caesars ahead of their time.
Quickly celestial genius advances ahead of its years, and                         185
   hardly can suffer the slow burden of sluggish delay.
Though but a babe, the Tyrinthian choked two snakes with his bare hands.
   Still in the cradle he was worthy already of Jove.
You, who are still but a boy, how old were you, Bacchus, when
   India was overthrown, dreading your thyrsus' might?                            190
Under the auspices of your father's experience you'll fight,
   conquering under the same auspices courage affords.
Such an exalted beginning you owe to your glorious name, and
   now you're prince of the youths, soon to be king among men.
Since they are brothers to you, then avenge them if they have been slighted.      195
   Since they're your father as well, follow the laws they have made.
You have been given your arms by your father, the fatherland's father;
   enemies wrested from him kingship he never desired.
You shall carry the valiant spear, not the cowardly arrows.
   Under the standards you bear, justice and piety stand.                         200
Parthia lost in the courts, and now she'll succumb to our armies.
   Would that my emperor add Eastern abundance to Rome's.
Caesar and Mars, both fathers, bestow benediction upon him:
   one of you two is a god; shortly the other will be.
Lo, I foresee you conquering. I will acclaim you in hymns and                     205
   with one voice you will be sung of harmoniously.
You will arise and exhort your ranks with the words that I've written;
   O, may the lines I compose never be far from your heart.
I'll sing only of Parthian backs and the chests of the Romans,
   javelins hurled by a foe riding away on his horse.                             210
Parthian, fleeing in victory, what will you leave when you're vanquished?
   Parthian, Mars has but ill omens in store for you now.
Therefore the day is approaching in which you will, beautiful creature,
   go by, golden, behind horses the color of snow.
Foreign commanders before you advance, necks burdened by shackles:                215
   nor as before shall they find refuge in cowardly flight.
Boys will be watching, delighted, with girls in the thronging assembly.
   This day's cheer will incite everyone's spirit alike.
And when a girl in the crowd should ask you the names of the leaders,
   asks which places and which mountains and rivers are shown,                    220
answer her questions and satisfy her curiosity fully.
   Answer whatever you don't know as if really you did.
"That's the Euphrates, with reeds from the marshes surrounding his temples;
   him with cerulean hair, that is the Tigris for sure.
Let's call those the Armenians; this girl's Danaë's Persia:                 225
   once in Achaemenid plains it was a bustling town.
That one and that one were kings: you can come up with names on the spot, and
   if you able the right ones, but if not then invent.
Banquets are good opportunities too; when the tables are spread out
   there is a lot more than wine thereabouts to pursue.                           230
Frequently this is the place where, having abducted the horned-jug,
   violet Amor has held Bacchus' cup in his arms.
When wine's been spilled out on the liquored-up feathers of Cupid,
   he'll stay put for a while heavily sleeping it off.
Once he has hastily shaken the alcohol out of his wings, though,                  235
   they who are sprinkled will then suffer the heartache of love.
Wine can prepare their spirits and make them ready for passion.
   Cares disappear and become amply diluted in wine.
Thereupon laughter arrives, and the pauper is growing a pair of
   horns, and his sadness and cares flee like the lines on his brow.              240
Later, simplicity, rarest of things in our day, disencumbers
   their minds while the god pushes their falseness away.
Frequently that's how girls have abducted the heart of a young boy;
   Venus is often the hot flame in the fire of wine.
Don't put too much trust in the treacherous light of the oil-lamp:                245
   It's not easy to judge beauty at night when you're drunk.
Paris inspected the goddesses under a clear bright sky when
   he told Venus, "You win over the other two gods."
Blemishes hide in the shadows, and every fault is forgiven:
   that late hour will make anything beautiful seem.                              250
You should deliberate on gems, wool that's been stained by the shellfish,
   faces, and bodies alike under the light of the sun.
Why should I count up the gatherings apt for the hunting of women?
   Sands on the beaches are not nearly as numerous yet.
Why should I mention the coastline of Baiae enshrouded in white sails,            255
   or its waters which steam up from the sulfur within?
Bathers, returning from there with a wound in the chest, have remarked that
   "Those hot baths aren't as healthy as you would believe."
Look at Diana's arboreous temple outside of the city:
   it was acquired through swords bloodied by murderous hands.                    260
That one, because she's a virgin despising the arrows of Cupid,
   has been responsible for numerous wounds in the heart.
Hitherto Thalea, born on dissimilar wheels has instructed
   you where to lay your snares, where you can find what you love.
Now I endeavor to teach you what's pleasing to her, and through which arts        265
   she can be captured, by its self a particular art.
Every gentleman everywhere, lend me your docile minds and
   commoners also, be near, trust in my promised rewards.
First let confidence enter your mindset: every woman
   can be had; you will have them if you set out your traps.                      270
Birds would sooner be silent in Spring, and cicadas in summer,
   dogs in Maenalian hills sooner be chased by the hares,
than would a woman seduced by a flattering charmer reject him.
   Even the one you believe isn't amenable is.
Secretive love is as pleasing to men as it is to a lady:                          275
   Men don't dissemble that well; women conceal their desire.
All of us men should agree that we won't be the ones who entreat first.
   Women, defeated, will then have to beseech us themselves.
Out in the soft green pastures the brown cow moos to the horned bull.
   Mares have whinnied to hoofed horses forever anon.                             280
Calmer among us, and not so furious is our libido:
   Virile flames have strict boundaries set by the law.
Need I remind you of Byblis, who burned with forbidden desire
   for her own brother and hung bravely avenging the crime?
Myrrha desired her father, as no good daughter should ever;                       285
   now she is hidden and trapped under imprisoning bark.
And with her teardrops which flow from the redolent wood of the tree, we're
   richly anointed; her name sticks to the sweet-smelling sap.
Once, in the shadowy valleys beneath tree-blanketed Ida,
   there was a bright white bull who was the pride of his herd,                   290
marked on the top of his forehead between both horns by a black spot.
   Only this blemish there was; everything else was like milk.
All of the heifers belonging to Cnossus and Cydonus longed for
   him to be mounted upon each of their satisfied backs.
Pasiphae yearned to commit an adulterous act with the big bull.                   295
   Jealous, she harbored a deep hatred for beautiful cows.
This is a well-known tale, and no matter how skillful a liar,
   Crete, which has hundreds of towns, cannot deny this account.
It is reported that she cut down fresh fronds and the tender
   grass from the plains for the bull with inexperienced hands.                   300
One of the herd she would go, no care for her husband delaying
   her as she went; by a bull Minos had been overcome.
Why do you, Pasiphae, put your costliest finery on? That
   one, your adulterer, can't recognize luxury's charm.
What is the use of a mirror when chasing a herd in the mountains?                 305
   Why are you, you fool, so often adjusting your hair?
Still, you should trust in the mirror which says that you're not a heifer.
   How you desire you'd been born with some horns on your head.
If you are happy with Minos, then seek not adulterous lovers,
   but if you cheat on your man, have an affair with a man.                       310
Leaving her bedroom the queen would wander the glades and the forests,
   just like a Bacchant possessed by the Aonian god.
Ah, how often she glared at the cows with a hostile expression
   crying aloud, "what about her is so pleasing to him?
Look at her prancing before him among the delectable grasses:                     315
   She must think it becomes her, the ridiculous girl."
So she would say and would straightaway have her removed from the vast herd,
   bidding the cow to be dragged, innocent, under the yoke,
or to be killed on the altar and used for a fictional offering,
   then she would hold in her hands rivals' intestines with joy.                  320
How many times did she placate the gods with the slaughter of rivals,
   saying with entrails in hand, "go and propitiate him!"
Now she pretends to be Io, and now she pretends she's Europa,
   one because she was a cow, one for her ride on the bull.
And in the end he fulfilled her, deceived by a maplewood heifer,                  325
   chief of the herd and the deed's author, revealed by the son.
If that Cretan Aerope'd abstained from the love of Thyestes,
   (What does it take to forego one unexceptional man?)
Phoebus would not have disrupted his course, with the chariot turned back,
   seeking Aurora with his horses abruptly reversed.                              330
Nisus' daughter despoiled her dad of his lavender curls and
   struggles to keep back crazed dogs with her groin and her thighs.
Atreides, who eluded on dry land Mars and at sea fled
   Neptune, was victim to his wife's catastrophic revenge.
Who hasn't shed tears over the flame of Ephyrean Creusa,                          335
   or that mother imbrued red with the death of her kids?
Phoenix, the son of Amyntor, with blind eyes wept at his cruel fate.
   You, o terrified steeds, shredded Hippolytus up.
Phineus, why are you stabbing the innocent eyes of your children?
   Your harsh punishment shall soon be returned on your head.                     340
All these acts were results of female libidinousness; much
   fiercer it is than our own, filled with a furious rage.
So go ahead, don't doubt that you can aspire to all girls.
   Hardly will one of their vast number refuse your advance.
Those who assent and those who deny you are happy you asked them.                 345
   So what if you are deceived? You will escape in one piece.
Why would you fall short though, since newer enjoyments are charming,
   and what is foreign attracts more so than things of our own?
Every crop grows better in neighboring gardens, and thus the
   neighbor has bigger and more cows in his herd than one's own.                  350
Your first care is becoming your longed-for mistress' maid's friend.
   Once you have done, she will smooth out the approach to her heart.
See to it that she's close to the feelings and thoughts of her mistress,
   someone she trusts and confides in with her secretive jokes.
You can corrupt her with promises, break her with intimate questions.             355
   You will obtain what you want easily if she consents.
Let her select the correct time (doctors are servants of time too),
   when her spirit is most facile and apt to be won.
Hearts are inclined to be conquered when they are contented and happy,
   just like crops in a rich soil luxuriate well.                                 360
When they rejoice and are not closed up by a miserable sadness,
   then they will open themselves wide to the onset of Love.
Back when Ilium mourned, it defended itself with its armies,
   but it accepted the horse, pregnant with soldiers, in bliss.
Yet she is also approachable when some lover has hurt her:                        365
   then you can help her to get proper revenge on the man.
While her maid is combing her mistress' hair in the morning,
   she can incite her and add sails to the work of your oars.
Sighing she'll quietly say in her ear in a tenuous murmur,
   "I don't think you can pay back his betrayal in kind."                         370
Then let her speak about you while adding some words of persuasion;
   let her swear that you're dying with maddening love.
Hurry, before sails sag and the wind dies quietly down, for,
   just like ice in the sun, anger is quick to recede.
You ask whether it might be worth it to sleep with the handmaid?                  375
   Maybe, but there are huge risks that attend this affair.
Sex makes some of them eager to help, but discourages others:
   some will advance your cause, others will want you themselves.
So it depends on the case: you're allowed to indulge if you dare, but
   nevertheless my advice is that you still should abstain.                       380
I am not one to go wandering off on jagged and steep peaks,
   nor will a youth be caught doing such things while I lead.
Though, if the maid, as she gives and receives your messages, still does
   please and impress you with more than her sedulity, then
firstly acquire her mistress; the maid can follow thereafter.                     385
   Love's not for you to begin by interrupting the maid.
This one thing I advise, if you trust in my method at all, and
   winds haven't carried my words out to the ravenous seas:
either resist the affair or carry it through to the end, for
   once she's involved in the crime she cannot give you away.                     390
Birds cannot fly if their feathers are smeared with resinous bird-lime,
   nor when the net is upon him can the boar get away.
Wounded and reeling the fish is attached to the hook it has swallowed.
   Press your victory home, quit not unless you have won.
Then, when the maid is as guilty as you are, she won't betray you.                395
   Now you will know what your dame's doing and thinking about.
Still though, it must be concealed well; if the informant is hidden,
   then she will secretly be your informational friend.
He who believes that the seasons and stars are only for farmers
   working the toilsome fields, or for the sailors, is wrong.                     400
Seedlings are not to be sown in every season or troublesome soil,
   nor is the ship to be sent off in viridian seas,
nor is it always judicious to hunt down elegant ladies:
   frequently time is what makes some situations improve.
So if her birthday's upon you, or if it's the Kalends already,                    405
   those which are happy to join Venus' month unto Mars,
or if the Circus is richly adorned with unusual statues,
   and the possessions of kings decorate fancy arcades,
then put off the affair: sad winters await and the Pleides,
   when the affectionate Kid merges with watery waves:                            410
then you'd do well to forebear, and whoever relies on the seas would
   scarcely hold on to the smashed ship-wrecked debris of his boat.
You should consider beginning on that sad day when the Allia
   ran blood red with the wounds Latins were perishing from,
or on the one day when no business is done by the jews from                       415
   Palestine, during the cult festival every week.
You should be most superstitious about your sweetheart's birthday:
   anytime gifts must be bought, that is a sorrowful day.
Try as you might, she will get what she wants, for the art of extracting
   wealth from desirous young boys was invented by girls.                         420
Some dissolute street vendor will come to your lady, who loves to
   shop, and he'll show off his wares as you're sitting beside
her and she'll ask you to look, just see if there's something you find nice:
   then she will give you a kiss; then she will ask you to buy.
She'll swear that it will make her terribly happy for years and                   425
   then she will say that she needs it and then tell you it's cheap.
If you pretend you've forgotten your wallet, don't worry, he takes checks;
   you'll be sorry that you ever were taught how to write.
What is so special about birthdays, when she asks you for money
   as though every damn day were the day she was born?                            430
When she will come to you weeping about some made-up disaster,
   feeling for gems that fell out of her earrings again?
Women demand to be given a lot of advances, but never
   give much back. You will lose, getting no thanks for your loss.
If I were to ennumerate all of the pilfering ways of                              435
   whores, ten mouths with ten tongues wouldn't nearly suffice.
Wax-covered tablets are just what you need to facilitate your task:
   let them precede you and tell her what you have on your mind.
Letters will carry your flattering words and the usual sweet talk.
   Beg and beseech her with long prayers, whoever you are.                        440
Moved by the prayers of Priam, Achilles returned him his Hector;
   voices in prayer avert even the anger of gods.
Make her impossible promises; what is the harm in a promise?
   Anyone's able to be wealthy in promises made.
Hope will endure for a long time, once it's implanted in her mind:                445
   Hope's a deceitful but good goddess to have on your side.
Once you have given her something, you logically can be relinquished:
   she will have taken your gift, leaving you nothing in turn.
Since you have given her nothing, you seem like you are about to.
   Thus has a sterile field oft disappointed its lord.                            450
Gamblers continue to lose in the hopes of recouping their losses,
   calling the six-sided dice back to their hankering hands.
This is the hard-part: getting the girl without giving her gifts first;
   then she'll continue to give, lest she have given for naught.
Therefore deliver your letters and let them be sown with seductive                455
   words, which discover her thoughts, paving the way to her heart.
Letters inscribed on an apple were secretly Cydippe's downfall,
   when she unconsciously was captured by words she had read.
Study the noble and valuable arts, young Roman, I urge you,
   not to defend an alarmed client in legal distress,                             460
but so that, just like the people, and serious judge, and elected
   senate, your lady will be won by your eloquence too.
Yet you should hide your strengths and not be openly facund.
   Let those troublesome words not interfere with your voice.
Who but a dim-witted fool would declaim to his delicate girlfriend?               465
   Frequently arrogance in letters is cause for disdain.
Think of adopting a straight, conversational style, and using
   simple, agreeable words. Write to her like you were there.
If she refuses your letters, returning them to you unread, then
   hope that one day she'll read them, and stick to the plan.                     470
Even the difficult oxen succumb to the yoke with enough time;
   in time horses are taught, broken by obstinate reins.
Rings of iron are soon worn down by assiduous use, and
   curved plows crumble in hard soils eventually.
What is there more adamantine than stone? What softer than water?                 475
   Slippery streams nonetheless hollow impervious stones.
Just you persist, you will conquer Penelope sooner or later.
   Pergamon held out yet was overcome all the same.
So she has read your letters but hasn't responded? Be patient:
   just make sure that she keeps reading your flattering words.                   480
If she is willing to read, she will want to respond to your writings:
   all good things in their own time and deliberate pace.
Maybe the first small letter which comes is a bit disappointing,
   which asks that you desist pestering her through the mail.
That which she asks for she fears; she'd prefer you persist in your wooing.       485
   Chase her, and after a while you will obtain what you want.
If in the meantime you happen to see her as she's being carried,
   go up discreetly to her comfortable bed where she lies.
So that no one will offer their odious ears to your whispers,
   be as shrewd as you can: speak in the vaguest of terms.                        490
If she is treading with indolent feet underneath an expansive
   portico, join your relaxed dawdling together with hers.
Now be advancing ahead of her, now you should follow behind her,
   hurry sporadically, otherwise amble at ease:
Don't be ashamed to occasionally promenade in between the                         495
   columns, or, now and again, walk alongside her apace.
Nor should the beautiful specimen sit in the theater without you:
   you will admire her bare shoulders instead of the show.
Turn your attention to her; you're permitted to smile and marvel:
   speak with your gestures and with facial expressions as well.                  500
Clap for the actor who dances the girl's part in the performance,
   let the seducer's be your favorite role in the piece.
When she arises, arise; and as long as she's seated be seated.
   At the discretion of your woman you'll forfeit your time.
Don't be overly fond of curling your locks with an iron,                          505
   nor should you scrape off the hairs of your legs with the stone.
Leave these for others to do, such as those with whom Mother Cybele
   sings, as they ululate in Phrygian musical modes.
It's the neglected appearance which suits men; Theseus carried
   off Ariadne without fixing his hair up with pins;                              510
Phaedra was madly in love with Hippolytus, nor was he well-kempt.
   Woodsy Adonis was once loved by the goddess of love.
Bodies are pleasing when tanned in the Campus and left unadorned, and
   comfortable togas are best, pressed and without any stains.
Your tongue better be clean and your teeth not dirty with tartar.                 515
   Nor should your feet be loose, swimming in monstrous shoes.
Don't let shearing disfigure your hair in a rigorous buzz-cut:
   hair, like your beard, ought to be trimmed by a capable hand.
Fingernails shouldn't be long or dirty and vile to look at.
   No nose hairs should be seen sticking from nostrils at all.                    520
Nor should the breath from your mouth be oppressive with terrible odors,
   nor should you stink like an old herdsman or billy-goat does.
Leave supercilious things to be done by lascivious girls, and
   men of the sort who desire other libidinous men.
Hearken, for Liber is calling his prophet! He also can help out                   525
   lovers, encouraging bright flames with which he himself burns.
Raving, the Knossian wandered the vast unfamiliar beaches,
   where in the shallower seas Dia the goddess is brought.
She as she woke* from her sleep, with her tunic in tatters revealed, she,
   bare-foot, her straw-colored hairs loose in the winds of the isle,             530
cried to the waves for unmerciful Theseus, deaf to her calling,
   with an unjustified flood pouring down delicate cheeks.
Though she lamented and wept at the same time, both were becoming:
   she wasn't made by her own tears any uglier, and
now once more she, beats her voluptuous breasts with her palms, and               535
   says, "that perfidious creep stranded me; what will I do?"
"What will I do," she is saying, when cymbals erupt over all the
   shores and a tympanum pounds, struck by a thundering hand.
Fainting and falling in fright, she stammered and stuttered a few words;
   There was no blood left in her inanimate corpse.                               540
Lo Mimallonides, bacchants, with hair spread loosely behind them,
   Lo, light satyrs, the crowd going ahead of the god:
Drunken Silenus, behold, how he barely can stay on the swaying
   back of his ass as he holds onto the animal's beard.
While he chases the Bacchants and while they flee and pursue him,                 545
   that poor old cavalier urges the beast with his staff,
then he collapses and falls from the long-eared ass on his forehead.
   Satyrs exhort him with cries, "Up you go, papa, get up!"
Now, in his chariot richly embellished with clusters of ripe grapes,
   Bacchus relaxes the gold reins of the tigers in front.                         550
Color and speech and her Theseus all have abandoned the poor girl:
   thrice she desires to flee, thrice is restrained by her fear.
Like insubstantial wheat stalks blown by the breezes, she shuddered,
   like thin reeds in a wet marshland will flutter and sway.
"Listen," the god said, "I'll be a much more faithful companion.                  555
   Cnossian, don't be afraid: you will be Bacchus' wife.
Have as a dowry the sky; you'll be seen as a star in the heavens;
   garland of Crete, you will guide often a wavering ship."
Thus he declared, and so that she not be afraid of the tigers,
   he leapt down from his bright chariot onto the sand.                           560
Wrapping her close to his heart (for she hadn't the strength to resist) he
   carried her off; for a god everything's easy to do.
Some of them sing "Hymenae", some holler, "Euhïe, euhöe!"
   Thus did the bride and the god meet on the nuptial bed.
Therefore when Bacchus' gifts are arrayed on the tables before you,               565
   and you are sharing a couch with an adorable girl,
pray the Nyctelian father and pray his nocturnal devotions
   lest you're condemned to endure harmful effects of the wine.
Here you're permitted to say all sorts of disguised and concealed things,
   which she'll imagine were said only for her to discern,                        570
write all manner of trifling compliments out in the sweet wine
   so on the table she can read that you think she is yours,
gaze in her eyes with your own eyes clearly confessing a fire.
   Often, though silent, the face has its own words and a voice.
You be the first one to take up the cup she touched to her lips, and              575
   just at the part she drinks from, you will drink from as well.
And from whatever delectable morsel of food she is picking,
   reach for it too. As you reach, fondle her hand with your own.
You should be eager and willing to please your mistress's husband;
   he'll be of much more use when you have made him your friend.                  580
If you selected a luckier straw, then concede him your privilege:
   give him the crown that was put earlier on your own head.
Whether he's lower or equal to you, make sure that he eats first.
   Hesitate not to pronounce flattering things about him.
Tried and secure is the way to deceive in the name of your friendship.            585
   Tried and secure is the way, maybe, but still it's a crime,
wherefore a zealous attorney will find more charges to bring and
   then look after a lot more than what's mandated him.
Let me give you a couple of definite limits for drinking:
   both of your feet and your mind have to accomplish their tasks.                590
Keeping yourself out of quarrels and fights is important. When drunk your
   fists are excessively prone to altercations and brawls.
Drinking the wine he was given, Eurytion perished unwisely.
   Dinners and drinking are much better for lighthearted jokes.
If you can sing, then sing! If your body is graceful then dance, and              595
   do whatsoever you can to be delightful and sweet.
As real drunkenness harms your cause, so pretending will help it.
   Make your mischievous tongue stammer a stuttering lisp.
So that whatever you do or say that's immodest and shameless
   will be believed to be just caused by the wine you imbibed.                    600
But speak well of your lady and also of him whom she sleeps with;
   though you would secretly wish him all the ill in the world.
When the festivities finish and while the tables are cleared off,
   those who are leaving will give you the occasion to make
your move. Blend with the crowd and approach her discreetly as she leaves.        605
   Brush up against her and then tickle her feet with your own.
Now is the time to converse with her. Go, coarse modesty, far from
   here. Both Venus and Chance offer their aid to the bold.
Not from the laws laid out heretofore will your eloquence spring:
   speak from the heart and you'll be stirring spontaneously.                     610
You are to act like a lover and feign love's wounds as you chatter.
   This is a girl to be chased after with methods you trust.
Nor is it hard to be trusted, for all girls think of themselves as
   lovable; even the worst aren't displeased with their looks.
Often enough though, the feigner will really begin to adore her:                  615
   often what once was contrived, ends up becoming the truth.
O, do be easier, girls, on the boys who pretend that they love you:
   Love can become true which once was but fiction and false.
Now is the time with your coaxing to furtively seize on her heart, just
   as the protuberant bank's eaten away by the stream.                            620
Do not disdain to extol her beauty or flattering hairdo
   or her exquisitely smooth hands or exiguous feet.
Even the chaste are delighted by public remarks on their beauty.
   Beauty's an object of care pleasing to virgins as well.
Why else would Juno and Pallas still now be ashamed of not having                 625
   won in the contest of their beauty in Phrygian woods?
Peacocks will proudly display their feathers when they are applauded;
   if you observe them unheard, they will conceal them again.
Proud racehorses enjoy it when their combed manes and their necks are
   lavishly praised in between races aggressively run.                            630
Don't make promises timidly: promises captivate young girls;
   swear by the gods that you'll be true to the promises made.
Jupiter laughs from on high at the perjuries lovers commit and
   bids south winds bear off those ineffectual words.
Jove was accustomed to swearing to Juno by Stygian waters                         635
   falsely; his precedent ought now to encourage our fraud.
As the existence of gods can be valuable, let us believe in
   them. In the venerable hearth incense and wine should be spilled.
Nor does a sound and quiet repose like slumber inhibit
   them. Live innocently: godly dominion abides;                                  640
Give what's entrusted you back; let piety guard your agreements:
   fraud must be absent; your hands clean of all bloodletting kept.
If you are wise you'll deceive with impunity only the young girls;
   here your fidelity's less crucial to guard than your fraud.
Swindle the people who cheat; by and large most folks are immoral;                645
   They, in the nooses they've hung, perish inevitably.
Egypt, it's said, was lacking in rainfalls needed to soak the
   fields, and for nine long years drought had persisted when one
day to Busiris's throne came Thrasius. And he informed them
   they could appease Jove by spilling the blood of a guest.                      650
"You'll be the first," he was told, "sacrifice offered to Jove!"
   "You'll as a visitor give Egypt the water she needs!"
Phalaris roasted the body of vehement Perillus in the
   violent bull, the morose author engorging his work.
Both of the outcomes were just; no law is more righteous than that the            655
   authors of murder should be killed by the works which they made.
Thus since perjuries trip up perjurers just as is fitting,
   heartbroken women should feel pain from examples they've set.
Tears can be useful as well. You will bend stiff iron with teardrops:
   Seem, if you can, like your two cheeks are as wet as can be.                   660
If tears won't come (nor do they always descend at the moments
   when you have need) with a wet hand you should sprinkle your eyes.
Which of the sages would not mix kisses with flattering phrases?
   She may not give what is asked; take what's refused nonetheless.
Maybe at first she resists your advances and calls you "indecent":                665
   fighting she nevertheless, wishes to be overcome.
Still don't damage her delicate lips with your passionate kisses
   lest she have cause to complain that they were overly rough.
He who has taken a kiss, if he doesn't acquire the rest too,
   rightly deserves to be stripped even of what he has got.                       670
After embracing her what were you lacking to satisfy your wish?
   Please! That's boorishness, not modest or humble restraint.
Call it whatever you want, strong impulses gratify women.
   Often what's pleasing is to give, but reluctantly so.
She who is forced unexpectedly by love's rapine rejoices,                         675
   and your depravity seems more like indulgence to her.
She, who withdraws unscathed, when she might have been boldly obliged, as
   happy as she might seem, really is sad in her heart.
Phoebe endured being forced, and force was used on her sister;
   Both the aggressors were thanked gratefully by the aggressed.                  680
Though it's a well-known tale it is not undeserving of mention
   how the Haemonian boy joined with a Scyrian girl.
Venus already had offered the mischievous bribe of renowned form,
   triumphing over her two rivals in valleys of mount
Ida; from far-off countries a daughter-in-law had arrived in                      685
   Priam's domain, and a Greek's wife was in Ilium's walls.
All of them swore their allegiance in oaths to a tormented husband:
   one man's grief had become everyone's personal cause.
Shamefully (if he had not acquiesced to the pleas of his mother)
   craven Achilles was dressed up in a womanly gown.                              690
What are you doing Achilles? Your job isn't spinning and weaving.
   You should be seeking the fame Pallas's talents afford.
What's with the basket of flowers? Your hand is for wielding the bronze shield.
   Why is there yarn in your right hand, by which Hector will die?
Throw those stupid, laboriously wound spindles away! The                          695
   Pelian spear is to be brandished by that very hand.
Once it so happened the princess and he were alone in the same room,
   That's when she found out that he was a man, through her rape.
It would behoove us to think that only by force was she vanquished:
   yet she desired to be vanquished by force nonetheless.                         700
Often she'd call out, "Stay!" as Achilles was hurrying off. He'd
   taken up arms that were much stronger than distaffs and spools.
Where is the violence you spoke of? Why are keeping the man who
   raped you behind with your soft pleading Deidamia, dear?
Though it may be unbecoming for women to make propositions,                       705
   when propositioned by men it's a delight to accept.
Ah! The assurance a fine youth has in his looks is excessive,
   if he is waiting for some girl to solicit him first.
Men should approach girls first; men always beseech with entreaties:
   ladies will kindly accept flattering pleas from a man.                         710
Asking is all that it takes, for a girl just wants to be asked;
   Tell her the reasons why you first were attracted to her.
Jupiter went as a suppliant to those ladies of old; for
   all of his greatness not one ever did supplicate Jove.
Yet, if you sense that a growing contemptuousness is resisting                    715
   your pleas, cease your pursuit; boldly retreat and regroup.
Many desire the things that elude them, despising insistence.
   You by insisting with less vigor erase her disdain.
Sometimes the hope for the love you desire is not to be spoken:
   let your affection arrive hidden in friendship's disguise.                     720
I've seen most inaccessible women deceived by this method:
   He who was once but a friend, quickly her lover became.
White is a cowardly color for sailors, who ought to be rather
   black from the waves of the sea, bronzed by the rays of the sun;
cowardly also for farmers who constantly turn up the heavy                        725
   soil beneath Jove's sky using the hoe and the rake.
Also for you, whom the fame of the crowns of Palladia chases,
   if your body is bright white, it is shameful to be.
Every lover can grow pale; this is the color which fits them.
   It is becoming, but fools think that it isn't legit.                           730
Pallid, Orion was drifting about in the forests in Side;
   Daphnis was pale for the slow Naiad, reluctant to yield.
Thinness reveals our hearts; don't think it is base to adorn your
   white curled locks with a small hood or a cap or a wig.
Nights spent waking emaciate bodies of childish young boys,                       735
   as does depression and cares generous love will inspire.
You will be master of all you desire. Be miserable looking
   so that the lady who sees you can declare, "You're in love."
Shall I complain? Shall I criticize every law that is mixed with
   wickedness? Friendship's a name, faith is a vacuous name.                      740
Ah me! It isn't so safe to profess what you love to your buddies;
   If they believe what you say they will pursue her themselves.
Aktor's grandson, though, didn't dishonor the bed of Achilles;
   How chaste Phaedra was then towards Perithous, and
Pylades cherished Hermione just as Apollo admired                                 745
   Pallas, as Castor to you, Tyndarids, both, was a twin.
He who expects as much is expecting the Tamarisk bush to
   bear green apples, and thinks honey will flow in the streams.
Nothing but decadence pleases: and each man's pleasure's essential:
   even the sadness of an other's enjoyable too.                                  750
Villainy! Rivals are not what a boyfriend needs to beware of:
   Flee from the friends whom you have faith in, and you will be safe.
You should beware of your dear old brother or trusted companion;
   this crowd ought to present you with legitimate fears.
I was about to be finished, but each girl's heart is a little                     755
   different: thousands of hearts call for a thousand techniques.
Not all pieces of land bring forward the same crops: this one's
   better for vineyards, and this one is for olives or spelt.
There are as many affective demeanors as faces and figures.
   He who is wise will adapt methods to his circumstance.                         760
As once Proteus molded himself in the waves of the seas: now
   he is a lion or tree; now is a bristling boar.
Some fish have to be caught with a spear, but others with hooks;
   billowing nets catch so many they weigh on the line.
Nor will a single technique be enough to attract all ages.                        765
   Old does spot from afar snares that are carefully set.
If you appear too smooth to a novice, or eager for prudes, then
   they will mistrust you and then where is the profit in that?
This is how she who was frightened to give up herself to an honest
   gentleman flies to the base arms of a villainous knave.                        770
Part of the work I started remains; one part is exhausted.
   This is the anchor I dropped, keeping our vessel in place.

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