Love in the afternoon

A poem by Ovid

Translated by Jon Corelis. Translation © copyright Jon Corelis. Used by permission.

It was very hot. The day had gone just past its noon.
I'd stretched out on a couch to take a nap.
One of the window-shutters was open, one was closed.
The light was like you'd see deep in the woods,
or like the glow of dusk when Phoebus leaves the sky,
or when night pales, and day has not yet dawned,
- a perfect light for girls with too much modesty,
where anxious Shame can hope to hide away.
When, look! here comes Corinna in a loose ungirded gown,
her parted hair framing her gleaming throat,
like lovely Semiramis entering her boudoir,
or fabled Lais, loved by many men.
I tore her gown off - not that it mattered, being so sheer,
and yet she fought to keep that sheer gown on;
but since she fought with no great wish for victory,
she lost, betraying herself to the enemy.
And as she stood before me, her garment all thrown off,
I saw a body perfect in every inch:
What shoulders, what fine arms I looked on - and embraced!
What lovely breasts, begging to be caressed!
How smooth and flat a belly under a compact waist!
And the side view - what a long and youthful thigh!
But why go into details? Each point deserved its praise.
I clasped her naked body close to mine.
You can fill in the rest. We both lay there, worn out.
May all my afternoons turn out this well.

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