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

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ELEGIA 3

De amica,quae periuraverat.
  • 1What, are there Gods? her selfe she hath forswore,
  • 2And yet remaines the face she had before.
  • 3How long her lockes were, ere her oath she tooke:
  • 4So long they be, since she her faith forsooke.
  • 5Faire white with rose red was before commixt:
  • 6Now shine her lookes pure white and red betwixt.
  • 7Her foote was small: her footes forme is most fit:
  • 8Comely tall was she, comely tall shee's yet.
  • 9Sharpe eyes she had: radiant like starres they be,
  • 10By which she perjurd oft hath lyed to me.
  • 11Insooth th'eternall powers graunt maides society
  • 12Falsely to sweare, their beauty hath some deity.
  • 13By her eyes I remember late she swore,
  • 14And by mine eys, and mine were pained sore.
  • 15Say gods: if she unpunisht you deceive,
  • 16For others faults, why do I losse receive?
  • Editor’s Note17But did you not so envy Cepheus Daughter,
  • 18For her ill-beautious Mother judgd to slaughter.
  • pg 6619Tis not enough, she shakes your record off,
  • 20And unrevengd mockt Gods with me doth scoffe.
  • 21But by my paine to purge her perjuries,
  • 22Couzend, I am the couzeners sacrifice.
  • 23God is a name, no substance, feard in vaine,
  • 24And doth the world in fond beliefe deteine.
  • 25Or if there be a God, he loves fine wenches,
  • 26And all things too much in their sole power drenches.
  • 27Mars girts his deadly sword on for my harme:
  • 28Pallas launce strikes me with unconquerd arme.
  • 29At me Apollo bends his pliant bowe:
  • 30At me Joves right-hand lightning hath to throwe.
  • 31The wronged Gods dread faire ones to offend,
  • 32And feare those, that to feare them least intend.
  • 33Who now will care the Altars to perfume?
  • 34Tut, men should not their courage so consume.
  • 35Jove throwes downe woods, and Castles with his fire:
  • 36But bids his darts from perjurd girles retire.
  • Editor’s Note37Poore Semele among so many burn'd;
  • 38Her owne request to her owne torment turnd.
  • 39But when her lover came, had she drawne backe,
  • 40The fathers thigh should unborne Bacchus lacke.
  • 41Why grieve I? and of heaven reproches pen?
  • 42The Gods have eyes, and brests as well as men.
  • 43Were I a God, I should give women leave,
  • 44With lying lips my God-head to deceave,
  • 45My selfe would sweare, the wenches true did sweare,
  • 46And I would be none of the Gods severe.
  • 47But yet their gift more moderately use,
  • 48Or in mine eyes good wench no paine transfuse.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
17 Cepheus Daughter] Andromeda, who was almost sacrificed to a sea monster sent by Neptune to ravage her father's kingdom after her mother, Cassiopeia, had boasted herself fairer than Juno and the Nereides. Andromeda was rescued by Perseus.
Editor’s Note
37 Semele] One of Jupiter's many loves, Semele insisted on seeing the god in all his divine splendour. The sight was too much for mortal eyes, and Semele was consumed with the brightness. At the time she was pregnant with Bacchus, and Jupiter snatched the child from her womb and sewed him in his thigh, carrying him there until it was time for him to be born.
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