zaterdag 3 april 2010

Search while you’re out walking

Just walk slowly under Pompey’s shady colonnade,
when the sun’s in Leo, on the back of Hercules’s lion:
or where Octavia added to her dead son Marcellus’s gifts,
with those rich works of foreign marble.
Don’t miss the Portico that takes its name
from Livia its creator, full of old masters:
or where the daring Danaids prepare to murder their poor husbands,
and their fierce father stands, with out-stretched sword.
And don’t forget the shrine of Adonis, Venus wept for,
and the sacred Sabbath rites of the Syrian Jews.
Don’t skip the Memphite temple of the linen-clad heifer:
she makes many a girl what she herself was to Jove.
And the law-courts (who’d believe it?) they suit love:
a flame is often found in the noisy courts:
where the Appian waters pulse into the air,
from under Venus’s temple, made of marble,
there the lawyer’s often caught by love,
and he who guides others, fails to guide himself:
in that place of eloquence often his words desert him,
and a new case starts, his own cause is the brief.
There Venus, from her neighbouring temples, laughs:
he, who was once the counsel, now wants to be the client.

Ovidius, book I part III.

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