Christopher Marlowe, Ovid [Publius Ovidius Naso]

Roma Gill (ed.), The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, Vol. 1: All Ovids Elegies, Lucans First Booke, Dido Queene of Carthage, Hero and Leander

Find Location in text

Main Text

pg 43 ELEGIA 6

In mortem psittaci.
  • 1The parrat from east India to me sent,
  • Critical Apparatus2Is dead, al fowles her exequies frequent.
  • Editor’s Note3Go goodly birdes, striking your breasts bewaile,
  • 4And with rough clawes your tender cheekes assaile.
  • 5For wofull haires let piece-torne plumes abound,
  • 6For long shrild trumpets let your notes resound.
  • Editor’s Note7Why Philomele doest Tereus leudnesse mourne?
  • Critical Apparatus8All wasting years have that complaint out worne.
  • 9Thy tunes let this rare birdes sad funerall borrowe,
  • Critical Apparatus10Itis is great, but auntient cause of sorrowe.
  • 11All you whose pineons in the cleare aire sore,
  • 12But most thou friendly turtle-dove deplore.
  • 13Full concord all your lives was you betwixt,
  • 14And to the end your constant faith stood fixt.
  • Editor’s Note15What Pylades did to Orestes prove,
  • 16Such to the parrat was the turtle dove.
  • 17But what availde this faith? her rarest hue?
  • 18Or voice that howe to change the wilde notes knew?
  • 19What helpes it thou wert given to please my wench,
  • 20Birdes haples glory death thy life doth quench.
  • 21Thou with thy quilles mightst make greene Emeralds darke
  • 22And passe our scarlet of red saffrons marke.
  • 23No such voice-feigning bird was on the ground,
  • 24Thou spokest thy words so well with stammering sound.
  • 25Envy hath rapt thee, no fierce warres thou movedst,
  • 26Vaine babling speech, and pleasant peace thou lovedst.
  • 27Behould how quailes among their battailes live,
  • 28Which do perchance old age unto them give.
  • 29A little fild thee, and for love of talke,
  • 30Thy mouth to taste of many meates did balke.
  • 31Nuts were thy food, and Poppie causde thee sleepe,
  • 32Pure waters moisture thirst away did keepe.
  • Critical Apparatus33The ravenous vulture lives, the Puttock hovers
  • 34Around the aire, the Cadesse raine discovers,
  • pg 44Editor’s Note35And Crowes survive armes-bearing Pallas hate,
  • 36Whose life nine ages scarce bring out of date.
  • 37Dead is that speaking image of mans voice,
  • Critical Apparatus38The Parrat given me, the farre worlds best choice.
  • 39The greedy spirits take the best things first,
  • 40Supplying their voide places with the worst.
  • Editor’s Note41Thersites did Protesilaus survive,
  • 42And Hector dyed his brothers yet alive.
  • 43My wenches vowes for thee what should I show,
  • 44Which stormie South-windes into sea did blowe?
  • 45The seventh day came, none following mightst thou see
  • 46And the fates distaffe emptie stood to thee,
  • 47Yet words in thy benummed palate rung,
  • 48Farewell Corinna cryed thy dying tongue.
  • 49Elisium hath a wood of holme trees black,
  • 50Whose earth doth not perpetuall greene-grasse lacke,
  • 51There good birds rest (if we beleeve things hidden)
  • 52Whence uncleane fowles are said to be forbidden.
  • 53There harmelesse Swans feed all abroad the river,
  • 54There lives the Phoenix one alone bird ever,
  • 55There Junoes bird displayes his gorgious feather,
  • 56And loving Doves kisse eagerly together.
  • 57The Parrat into wood receiv'd with these,
  • 58Turnes all the goodly birdes to what she please.
  • 59A grave her bones hides, on her corps great grave,
  • 60The little stones these little verses have.
  • 61This tombe approoves, I pleasde my mistresse well,
  • 62My mouth in speaking did all birds excell.

Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus
II. vi 2 al fowles] al-fowles
Editor’s Note
3 goodly birdes] piae volucres. Dyce emends 'goodly' (here and at line 58) to 'godly'; but these two instances, plus a third at line 51, suggest that Marlowe intended to translate pius as 'good'.
Editor’s Note
7 Philomele] Philomela was raped by her sister's husband, Tereus, who then cut out her tongue and imprisoned her in a lonely castle; in a piece of needlework she sent the news of these happenings to Procne, her sister, who in revenge killed her son Itys (see line 10) and served him as food to her husband. Finally they were all changed into birds: Philomela became a nightingale, Tereus a hoopoe, Procne a swallow, and Itys a sandpiper.
Critical Apparatus
8 out] Tucker Brooke; not Mason
Critical Apparatus
10 Itis is] Martin; It is as Mason
Editor’s Note
15 Pylades] The cousin of Orestes, who assisted him in revenging the death of Agamemnon by murdering Clytemnestra (Orestes' mother) and her lover Aegisthus.
Critical Apparatus
33 hovers] ⁓,
Editor’s Note
35 Pallas hate] In Ovid's Metamorphoses, ii. 552ff., the Crow tells why she is hated by Pallas Athene (Minerva). An attempt to ravish Athene by Vulcan resulted in the birth of Erichthonius, whom Pallas tried to smuggle away. The Crow saw what happened, and talked about it.
Critical Apparatus
38 worlds] Robinson; words Mason
Editor’s Note
41 Thersites] The most deformed and defamatory of the Greek rank and file during the Trojan War.
Protesilaus] The first of the Greeks to set foot on Trojan soil; an oracle had declared that the man who did this should be the first to die.
logo-footer Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Access is brought to you by Log out