|Religion||Subjects||Images||Queries||Links||Contact||Do not fly Iberia|
Do not display Latin text
Display Dutch text
Ovid XIV Chapter 16: 623-697 Vertumnus woos Pomona
Return to index
Pomona lived in this king's [Note 1] reign. No other hamadryad, of the wood nymphs of Latium, tended the gardens more skilfully or was more devoted to the orchards' care, hence her name. She loved the fields and the branches loaded with ripe apples, not the woods and rivers. She carried a curved pruning knife, not a javelin, with which she cut back the luxuriant growth, and lopped the branches spreading out here and there, now splitting the bark and inserting a graft, providing sap from a different stock for the nursling. She would not allow them to suffer from being parched, watering, in trickling streams, the twining tendrils of thirsty root. This was her love, and her passion, and she had no longing for desire. Still fearing boorish aggression, she enclosed herself in an orchard, and denied an entrance, and shunned men. What did the Satyrs, fitted by their youth for dancing, not do to possess her, and the Pans with pine-wreathed horns, and Silvanus, always younger than his years, and Priapus, the god who scares off thieves, with his pruning hook or his phallus? But Vertumnus surpassed them all, even, in his love, though he was no more fortunate than them. O how often, disguised as an uncouth reaper, he would bring her a basket filled with ears of barley, and he was the perfect image of a reaper! Often he would display his forehead bound with freshly cut hay, and might seem to have been tossing the new-mown grass. Often he would be carrying an ox-goad in his stiff hand, so that you would swear he had just unyoked his weary team. Given a knife he was a dresser and pruner of vines: he would carry a ladder: you would think he'd be picking apples. He was a soldier with a sword, or a fisherman taking up his rod. In short, by his many disguises, he frequently gained admittance, and found joy, gazing at her beauty. Once, he even covered his head with a coloured scarf, and leaning on a staff, with a wig of grey hair, imitated an old woman. He entered the well-tended garden, and admiring the fruit, said: 'You are so much more lovely', and gave her a few congratulatory kisses, as no true old woman would have done. He sat on the flattened grass, looking at the branches bending, weighed down with autumn fruit. There was a specimen elm opposite, covered with gleaming bunches of grapes. After he had praised it, and its companion vine, he said: 'But if that tree stood there, unmated, without its vine, it would not be sought after for more than its leaves, and the vine also, which is joined to and rests on the elm, would lie on the ground, if it were not married to it, and leaning on it. But you are not moved by this tree's example, and you shun marriage, and do not care to be wed. I wish that you did! Helen would not have had more suitors to trouble her, or Hippodamia, who caused the Lapithae problems, or Penelope, wife of that Ulysses, who was delayed too long at the war. Even now a thousand men want you, and the demigods and the gods, and the divinities that haunt the Alban hills, though you shun them and turn away from their wooing. But if you are wise, if you want to marry well, and listen to this old woman, that loves you more than you think, more than them all, reject their vulgar offers, and choose Vertumnus to share your bed! You have my assurance as well: he is not better known to himself than he is to me: he does not wander here and there in the wide world: he lives on his own in this place: and he does not love the latest girl he has seen, as most of your suitors do. You will be his first love, and you will be his last, and he will devote his life only to you. And then he is young, is blessed with natural charm, can take on a fitting appearance, and whatever is ordered, though you ask all, he will do. Besides, that which you love the same, those apples you cherish, he is the first to have, and with joy holds your gifts in his hand! But he does not desire now the fruit of your trees, or the sweet juice of your herbs: he desires nothing but you. Take pity on his ardour, and believe that he, who seeks you, is begging you, in person, through my mouth. Fear the vengeful gods, and Idalian Venus, who hates the hard-hearted, and Rhamnusian Nemesis, her inexorable wrath! That you may fear them more (since my long life has given me knowledge of many tales) I will tell you a story, famous through all of Cyprus, by which you might easily be swayed and softened.' |
Note 1: king = Proca
Rege sub hoc Pomona fuit, qua nulla Latinas |
inter hamadryadas coluit sollertius hortos
nec fuit arborei studiosior altera fetus;
unde tenet nomen: non silvas illa nec amnes,
rus amat et ramos felicia poma ferentes;
nec iaculo gravis est, sed adunca dextera falce,
qua modo luxuriem premit et spatiantia passim
bracchia conpescit, fisso modo cortice virgam
inserit et sucos alieno praestat alumno;
nec sentire sitim patitur bibulaeque recurvas
radicis fibras labentibus inrigat undis.
hic amor, hoc studium, Veneris quoque nulla cupido est;
vim tamen agrestum metuens pomaria claudit
intus et accessus prohibet refugitque viriles.
quid non et Satyri, saltatibus apta iuventus,
fecere et pinu praecincti cornua Panes
Silvanusque, suis semper iuvenilior annis,
quique deus fures vel falce vel inguine terret,
ut poterentur ea? sed enim superabat amando
hos quoque Vertumnus neque erat felicior illis.
o quotiens habitu duri messoris aristas
corbe tulit verique fuit messoris imago!
tempora saepe gerens faeno religata recenti
desectum poterat gramen versasse videri;
saepe manu stimulos rigida portabat, ut illum
iurares fessos modo disiunxisse iuvencos.
falce data frondator erat vitisque putator;
induerat scalas: lecturum poma putares;
miles erat gladio, piscator harundine sumpta;
denique per multas aditum sibi saepe figuras
repperit, ut caperet spectatae gaudia formae.
ille etiam picta redimitus tempora mitra,
innitens baculo, positis per tempora canis,
adsimulavit anum: cultosque intravit in hortos
pomaque mirata est 'tanto' que 'potentior!' inquit
paucaque laudatae dedit oscula, qualia numquam
vera dedisset anus, glaebaque incurva resedit
suspiciens pandos autumni pondere ramos.
ulmus erat contra speciosa nitentibus uvis:
quam socia postquam pariter cum vite probavit,
'at si staret' ait 'caelebs sine palmite truncus,
nil praeter frondes, quare peteretur, haberet;
haec quoque, quae iuncta est, vitis requiescit in ulmo:
si non nupta foret, terrae acclinata iaceret;
tu tamen exemplo non tangeris arboris huius
concubitusque fugis nec te coniungere curas.
atque utinam velles! Helene non pluribus esset
sollicitata procis nec quae Lapitheia movit
proelia nec coniunx nimium tardantis Ulixis.
nunc quoque, cum fugias averserisque petentes,
mille viri cupiunt et semideique deique
et quaecumque tenent Albanos numina montes.
sed tu si sapies, si te bene iungere anumque
hanc audire voles, quae te plus omnibus illis,
plus, quam credis, amo: vulgares reice taedas
Vertumnumque tori socium tibi selige! pro quo
me quoque pignus habe: neque enim sibi notior ille est,
quam mihi; nec passim toto vagus errat in orbe,
haec loca sola colit; nec, uti pars magna procorum,
quam modo vidit, amat: tu primus et ultimus illi
ardor eris, solique suos tibi devovet annos.
adde, quod est iuvenis, quod naturale decoris
munus habet formasque apte fingetur in omnes,
et quod erit iussus, iubeas licet omnia, fiet.
quid, quod amatis idem, quod, quae tibi poma coluntur,
primus habet laetaque tenet tua munera dextra!
sed neque iam fetus desiderat arbore demptos
nec, quas hortus alit, cum sucis mitibus herbas
nec quicquam nisi te: miserere ardentis et ipsum,
qui petit, ore meo praesentem crede precari.
ultoresque deos et pectora dura perosam
Idalien memoremque time Rhamnusidis iram!
quoque magis timeas, (etenim mihi multa vetustas
scire dedit) referam tota notissima Cypro
facta, quibus flecti facile et mitescere possis.