Ovid, Heroides

LCL 41: 30-31

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in freta procurro, vix me retinentibus undis, mobile qua primas porrigit aequor aquas. quo magis accedunt, minus et minus utilis adsto; 130linquor et ancillis excipienda cado. Est sinus, adductos modice falcatus in arcus; ultima praerupta cornua mole rigent. hinc mihi suppositas inmittere corpus in undas mens fuit; et, quoniam fallere pergis, erit. 135ad tua me fluctus proiectam litora portent, occurramque oculis intumulata tuis! duritia ferrum ut superes adamantaque teque, “non tibi sic,” dices, “Phylli, sequendus eram!” saepe venenorum sitis est mihi; saepe cruenta 140traiectam gladio morte perire iuvat. colla quoque, infidis quia se nectenda lacertis praebuerunt, laqueis inplicuisse iuvat. stat nece matura tenerum pensare pudorem. in necis electu parva futura mora est. 145Inscribere meo causa invidiosa sepulcro. aut hoc aut simili carmine notus eris: Phyllida Demophoon leto dedit hospes amantem; ille necis causam praebuit, ipsa manum.


The Heroides II

the waters, scarce halted by the waves where first the sea sends in its mobile tide. The nearer the sails advance, the less and less the strength that bears me up; my senses leave me, and I fall, to be caught up by my handmaids’ arms.


There is a bay, whose bow-like lines are gently curved to sickle shape; its outmost horns rise rigid and in rock-bound mass. To throw myself hence into the waves beneath has been my mind; and, since you still pursue your faithless course, so shall it be. Let the waves bear me away, and cast me up on your shores, and let me meet your eyes untombed! Though in hardness you be more than steel, than adamant, than your very self, you shall say: “Not so, Phyllis, should I have been followed by thee! “Oft do I long for poison; oft with the sword would I gladly pierce my heart and pour forth my blood in death. My neck, too, because once offered to the embrace of your false arms, I could gladly ensnare in the noose. My heart is fixed to die before my time, and thus make amends to tender purity. In the choosing of my death there shall be but small delay.


On my tomb shall you be inscribed the hateful cause of my death. By this, or by some similar verse, shall you be known:

demophoon ’twas sent phyllis to her doom; her guest was he, she loved him well. he was the cause that brought her death to pass; her own the hand by which she fell.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ovid-heroides.1914