si tamen haec navis vento ferretur amico,
forsitan ista fides.
Thesea Pirithous non tam sensisset amicum,
si non infernas vivus adisset aquas.
ut foret exemplum veri Phoceus amoris,
tristis Oresta, tuae.
si non Euryalus Rutulos cecidisset in hostes,
gloria nulla foret.
scilicet ut flavum spectatur in ignibus aurum,
tempore sic duro
est inspicienda fides.
dum iuvat et vultu ridet Fortuna sereno,
at simul intonuit, fugiunt, nec noscitur ulli,
qui modo cinctus erat.
atque haec, exemplis quondam collecta priorum,
nunc mihi sunt
propriis cognita vera malis.
vix duo tresve mihi de tot superestis amici:
non mea turba fuit.
--Ovid, Tristia I.v.17-34
If my ship were sailing on a friendly wind,
Perhaps I could forget your loyalty.
For Pirithous would not have felt Theseus’ friendship
If he hadn’t gone on a quest to the Underworld.
If not for wretched Orestes’ madness,
Pylades would not be seen as a paragon of love
If Euryalus had not fallen in battle with the Rutulians,
Nisus would have no glory.
Just like gold bubbles up from the smelter’s furnace
Faith also must endure a tribulation.
Whenever Fortune smiles down upon us serenely
she blesses us with uninterrupted prosperity,
but as soon as she grows angry,
our good times flee, and instead of the bunch of friends we
we can scarcely find one.
And although I used to ponder examples of this trope
Now this evil has befallen me, too.
Of all my “friends,” y’all are the two or three friends I
The rest belong to Fortune’s clique, not mine.
Date: 43 BCE – 18 CE
Ovid was one
of the most famous love poets of Rome’s Golden Age. His most famous work, the
Metamorphoses, provides a history of the world through a series of
interwoven myths. Most of his poetry is erotic in nature; for this reason, he
fell into trouble during the conservative social reforms under the reign of
the emperor Augustus. In 8 CE he was banished to Bithynia, where he spent the
remainder of his life pining for his native homeland.
GOLDEN AGE ROME