Ovidian Delight VII

Ovid again today and a bit of epic mockery.

He begins one of his poetic books with the following line:


'Dicite, 'io Paean!' et 'io' bis dicite 'Paean'.

Decidit in casses praeda petita meos;


Say, 'Hurrah, a Triumph', and 'Hurrah', say it twice 'a Triumph'.

The plunder I sought has fallen into my snares!


One might expect the hailing of a military victory. At first it looks convincing...but, hang on! It's Ovid. The cheeky poet has done this before, commenced in lofty style to remind us of his favoured theme. He cannot escape it. Last time, Cupid stole his (metrical) foot.


And yes, once again he is no general or epic Muse. He is being crowned, not by Roma, but Amans, the 'Lover'.


He continues thus:


laetus amans donat viridi mea carmina palma.

praelata Ascraeo Maeonique seni.


Happily does a lover crown my songs with leafy green palm,

and prefers it to the aged Ascraeon and Maeonian.


Oh, Ovid has his victory palm all right, placed on his poem by a delighted lover. The ethnic adjectives Ascraeus and Maeonius refer to Hesiod and Homer. Such adjectives were a feature of epic. Ovid makes a witty play with epic poetry, referring to Greek poetry's two great masters and happily asserting that the lover has crowned him in preference!


'Io, Ovid'. Hurrah for Ovid, a genuine comic genius!

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All