Saturday, July 17, 2010


Ovid Exiled

James Henry, To Ovid Departing for Tomi, from Poematia (Dresden: C.C. Meinhold & Sons, 1866), p. 89:
Lament not, poet, though thou leav'st behind thee
Thy dear-loved Roman hills and Tiber brown,
And house and home and family and friends,
Thou leav'st behind thee, too, the implacable,
Jealous, vindictive, iron-hearted tyrant,
With all his meanness, greatness, pomp and pride.
Lament not, poet, though thou takest with thee
— Sad comrades! — exile, loneliness, and want,
Thou takest with thee, too, the laurel crown
And all men's sympathy except thy foe's.
Still thou lamentest — ah! I will not blame thee,
Apollo never but on one condition
Bestows the never-fading laurel crown:
That it be kept perpetual wet with tears.
J.M.W. Turner, Ovid Banished from Rome

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