Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Melbourne Cup

With the Melbourne cup on today, I thought would be a good time to share Ovid’s tips for finding love at the races.

Proximus a domina, nullo prohibente, sedeto,
Iunge tuum lateri qua potes usque latus;
Et bene, quod cogit, si nolis, linea iungi,
Quod tibi tangenda est lege puella loci.

No one can stop you from sitting as close as you want to your mistress; squash up side by side, as close as you can. Even if she’s shy, the girl will have to let you touch her, because the benches are so crowded.

Hic tibi quaeratur socii sermonis origo,
Et moveant primos publica verba sonos.
Cuius equi veniant, facito, studiose, requiras:
Nec mora, quisquis erit, cui favet illa, fave.

Then you should look to start some kind of friendly conversation, and let the occasion provide your first words. ‘Whose horses are they?’ you should ask, enthusiastically: and whichever horses she backs, you should back too, without delay.

Utque fit, in gremium pulvis si forte puellae
Deciderit, digitis excutiendus erit:
Etsi nullus erit pulvis, tamen excute nullum:
Quaelibet officio causa sit apta tuo.
Pallia si terra nimium demissa iacebunt,
Collige, et inmunda sedulus effer humo;
Protinus, officii pretium, patiente puella
Contingent oculis crura videnda tuis.

And if by chance (as sometimes happens) a speck of dust should fall into the girl’s lap, brush it away with your fingers: and even if there’s nothing there, brush that nothing away. Anything should be an opportunity for your courtship. If her cloak comes undone and trails on the ground, pick it up and carefully lift it from the filthy dirt. If the girl consents you’ll get the reward for your efforts straight away- a glimpse at her legs.

Respice praeterea, post vos quicumque sedebit,
Ne premat opposito mollia terga genu.
Parva leves capiunt animos: fuit utile multis
Pulvinum facili composuisse manu.
Profuit et tenui ventos movisse tabella,
Et cava sub tenerum scamna dedisse pedem.

Look back to see who sits behind you, to make sure he doesn’t prod her tender back with his knee. Small things please little minds: it’s a good idea to arrange her cushion with your skilful hands. It’s also helpful to fan her gently with your program, and to put a hollow stool under her dainty feet.

(Ovid, Ars Amatoria I.139ff)


Anonymous said...

We have talked about this in class, I think. Except maybe that was with Mrs Klimek. Also, I think you posted the bit about the ankle perve a little while ago? That might have been some different thing though, I don't know, maybe everyone used to just perve on ankles all the time in those days. So I'm going to go and learn more Lucretius passages - I am well over half way through already and have also done a bit of Cicero, so I am going to ACE extension!

Anonymous said...

Just letting you know that I emailed you on behalf of your "slack year 12 class" since i figure you probably check your blog more regularly than your school/work email account