Ovid: The Love Poems Quotes


“I don't ask you to be faithful - you're beautiful, after all -
but just that I be spared the pain of knowing.”

Ovid, On Fidelity

These are the opening lines of the poem, On Fidelity. The poet asks his beloved that she is beautiful and it all right if she is not faithful to him, but he does want that she keeps it a secret and save him the pain of knowing her unfaithfulness.

“Trick everyone, trick me: leave me in ignorance;
let me enjoy the life of a happy fool.”

Ovid, On Fidelity

The poet says that his beloved can trick everyone and even him that she was chaste and didn’t commit adultery. She should leave him in ignorance. He would happily enjoy the life of a fool instead of dying everyday knowing the truth.

“You'll win an easy prize from a man who wants to lose,
only remember to say, 'I didn't do it.'
Since you can gain your victory with one short phrase,
win on account of your judge, if not your case.”

Ovid, On Fidelity

The poem ends with these lines and yet again, the poet asks his beloved to hide her unfaithfulness from him. All she had to do is say without any guilt that she didn’t do it and she will win. One short phrase can give her victory since poet doesn’t want to know the truth in case she was unfaithful towards him.

“With Menelaus away, Helen's disinclination for sleeping
Alone led her into her guest's
Warm bed at night. Were you crazy, Menelaus?”

Ovid, The Art of Love

In these lines, the poet says that short partings cause admiration to fade away. It was not Helen’s fault that she went and shared bed with the guest in her house, but it was Menelaus’s fault that he left her craving.

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