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Ovid

nec nos Enceladi dementia castra secuti in rerum dominos movimus arma deos, nec, quod Tydidae temeraria dextera fecit, numina sunt telis ulla petita meis. 15est mea culpa gravis, sed quae me perdere solum ausa sit, et nullum maius adorta nefas. nil nisi non sapiens possum timidusque vocari: haec duo sunt animi nomina vera mei. esse quidem fateor meritam post Caesaris iram 20difficilem precibus te quoque iure meis; quaeque tua est pietas in totum nomen Iuli, te laedi, cum quis laeditur inde, putas. sed licet arma feras et vulnera saeva mineris, non tamen efficies ut timeare mihi. 25puppis Achaemeniden Graium Troiana recepit, profuit et Myso Pelias hasta duci. confugit interdum templi violator ad aram, nec petere offensi numinis horret opem. dixerit hoc aliquis tutum non esse. fatemur. 30sed non per placidas it mea puppis aquas. tuta petant alii: fortuna miserrima tuta est, nam timor eventus deterioris abest. qui rapitur praeceps torrenti fluminis unda1 porrigit ad spinas duraque saxa manus, 35accipitremque timens2 pennis trepidantibus ales audet ad humanos fessa venire sinus, nec se vicino dubitat committere tecto, quae fugit infestos territa cerva canes. da, precor, accessum lacrimis, mitissime, nostris, 40nec rigidam timidis vocibus obde forem,

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Ex Ponto, II

bright stars; I have not joined the mad camp of Enceladus and aroused war against the gods who rule the world; I have not, like the rash hand of Tydeus’ son,1 aimed my spear against the gods. My fault is heavy, but ’tis one which has dared to destroy me alone, attempting no greater crime. No term save “senseless” and “timid” can be applied to me; these are the two true words for my soul. It is indeed, I admit, after I deserved Caesar’s anger, with justice that you are hard to my entreaties; such is your devotion to all of the Iulean2 name that you are injured too if you think any of them is injured. But though you take arms and threaten me with cruel wounds, yet will you not make me fear you. The ship of a Trojan succoured Achaemenides, Greek though he was; the Pelian spear helped the Mysian chieftain.3 Sometimes the violator of a temple takes refuge at the altar, not dreading to seek the aid of the angered god. Someone may say this is not safe. I admit it; but it is not through calm waters that my bark sails. Let safety be the quest of others; uttermost misery is safe, for it lacks fear of an outcome still worse. One who is swept away by a river in flood stretches out his arms and grasps at thorns and hard rocks; in fear of the hawk a bird on trembling wings ventures in weariness to come to man’s protection; the doe hesitates not to trust herself to a house hard by when she flees in terror from her enemies, the hounds.

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Grant, I beseech you, gentle friend, comfort to my tears, shut not an unyielding door upon my timid

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-ex_ponto.1924