Saturday 26 August 2023

Elegy Personified

Ovid, Amores, III.1.5-10:

hic ego dum spatior tectus nemoralibus umbris,
    quod mea, quaerebam, Musa moveret opus.  
venit odoratos Elegia nexa capillos,
    et, puto, pes illi longior alter erat.
forma decens, vestis tenuissima, vultus amantis,
    et pedibus vitium causa decoris erat.
While I meandered here, submerged in the sylvan shadows,
I asked what task my Muse should undertake.
Elegy appeared: her hair tied in scented locks and,
I believe, one of her feet was longer than the other.
She had a shapely figure, the most delicate dress, a face for love,
and the flaw in her feet was the source of her grace.
Statius, Silvae, I.2.7-10:
quas inter uultu petulans Elegia propinquat
celsior adsueto diuasque hortatur et ambit
alternum furata pedem, decimamque uideri
se cupit et medias fallit permixta sorores.
Pert Elegy approaches their [the Muses] presence:
uncommonly tall, she entreats and coaxes the goddesses.
Concealing her alternate foot, she desires to be seen as
the tenth muse, and mingle inconspicuously amongst her sisters.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau - Elegy

William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), Elegy (Private Collection, Wikicommons)

My translations.

: Sandstroem's conjecture. futura M; suffulta Leo, Courtney; fulcire Slater. For a complete list of conjectures, see P. Papinius Statius Volume V: Siluae, Readings and Conjectures, comp. by J.B. Hall with A.L. Ritchie & M.J. Edwards (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021), p.30.

Also see:
D.A. Slater, 'Conjectural Emendations in the Silvae of Statius', The Journal of Philology, 59 (1907) 133-160, p.151.
C.L. Howard, 'Notes on Statius', Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 90 (1959) 117-130, pp. 117-120.