Ovidian Delight II

The fourth line of this quotation from the second book of Ovid's Ars Amatoria has been described as one of Ovid's worst lines, but actually its rather crass, even ugly, sound rather imitates its point: the monstrous nature of the Minotaur. It is deliberately designed to shock and be quite the opposite of the high-flown, formal tone of epic.


Hospitis effugio praestruxerat omnia Minos:

Audacem pinnis repperit ille viam.

Daedalus ut clausit conceptum crimine matris

Semibovemque virum semivirumque bovem,


'Minos enclosed every means of flight from his guest:

But Daedalus found a daring route on wings.

When he had confined the creature conceived by his mother's crime,

The half-bull man and half-man bull...'


Oh, bring the smelling salts....

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