Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Art of Love

You'll see her eyes flickering with tremulous brightness,
as sunlight often flashes from running water.
Moans and loving murmurs will arise,
and sweet sighs, and playful and fitting words.
But don't desert your mistress by cramming on more sail,
or let her overtake you in your race:
hasten to the goal together: that's the fullness of pleasure,
when man and woman lie there equally spent.
This is the pace you should indulge in, when you're given
time for leisure, and fear does not urge on the secret work.
When delay's not safe, lean usefully on the oar,
and plunge your spur into the galloping horse.
While strength and years allow, sustain the work:
bent age comes soon enough on silent feet.
Plough the earth with the blade, the sea with oars,
take a cruel weapon in your warring hands,
or spend your body, and strength, and time, on girls:
this is warlike service too, this too earns plenty.

Ovid, from 'The Art of Love'