Ovid, Remedia Amoris, lines 175-184, 187-190
About the author
To find out about Ovid's life and works, click here
Listen to the poem
Recited in Latin, this is how the poem (Ovid, Remedia Amoris, lines 175-184, 187-190) would have sounded to the Romans.
This recital is part of a Powerpoint presentation which also includes appropriate images.
Created by Godfrey Evans of Chelmsford County High School for Girls.
You may be asked to log-on as a guest first. Once opened (or saved) to your PC, you will then need to play the "slideshow" for full effect.
A very good, close translation by A.S.Kline (2001).
Super MP3 audio-file of an English literal translation/dramatisation of the Anthology extract prepared by the Camden School for Girls.
Includes a mooing cow!
Depending on your default media player, you may have to save this MP3 file onto your computer first.
Scroll to p.188 to find the start of the Anthology extract: "See how the branches bend..." At times the translation is close to the Latin, at others not so close. So, as with most published translations, use as a reference and not as a word-for-word copy!
If you want to read Remedia Amoris in print, it can be found along with Ovid's love poems (Amores) and other rather racy poems in Penguin's Ovid: The Erotic Poems, translated by Peter Green.
This poem is written in a poetic form or "meter" known as elegiac couplets
Find out more in the section LATIN POETRY: Meters, Rhythms & Scansion
on the Verse Authors
This section of Ovid's Remedia Amoris advises anyone wishing to shake off love-sickness to immerse themselves in the pleasures of the countryside.
The idyllic, rustic images that Ovid presents come close, in fact, to taking the mick out of a type of "countryside" poetry known as pastoral.
Fancy reading some of the Latin and Greek pastoral poems which Ovid was poking fun at? Here's some below...
Virgil was the master at Latin pastoral poetry. His famous book of pastoral poems was called the Eclogues ("Selections"). This link takes you to Eclogue II, which oozes with rustic, idyllic imagery.
The Hellenistic Greek poet Theocritus is considered the "inventor" of pastoral or bucolic poetry. His poems were collected in a volume called the Idylls, a term in fact meaning "highly crafted" which referred to his poems' structure; now the term refers to the subject matter of the poems - "a picturesque and rustic scene".
This link takes you to Idyll 1.
Useful webpage from Wikipedia.
The Shepheardes Calender was Edmund Spenser's first major poetic work, published in 1579. This series of pastoral poems, one for each month of the year, was in imitation of Virgil's first work, the Eclogues. The title, like the entire work, is written using deliberately archaic spellings to suggest a connection to older, more rustic times.
This link takes you to April which sings the praises of Queen Elizabeth I.
A forest setting, poems, shepherds and love:And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
I would not change it.
(Act II, Scene I, Lines 15-18).
Shakespeare had to have his own go at pastoral, and in his 1599 play, As You Like It
, he not only used many of the traditional elements found in Virgil and Theocritus, but like Ovid and Horace also had a laugh at them.
It's still one of Shakey's most popular comedies - as the latest film version
Pastoral Landscape and Arcadia
The great 17th-century French artist Claude Lorraine was much influenced by Virgil, and this scene, with its group of shepherds (two playing the flute) and its grazing cattle and goats, perfectly catches the mood of the Eclogues.
In the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK.
"Dream of Arcadia" painted by the American artist Thomas Cole.
In this romanticized 19th-century version of the Greek landscape, the inhabitants spend their time in leisurely pursuits such as riding, fishing and - importantly - playing music (on pipes and tambourines) and dancing. The presence of the temple in the distance accurately reflects the religious significance with which both the Greeks and the Romans invested the countryside.
In the Denver Art Museum, USA.
A useful link to learn more about this place, a region of Greece, which - through the Greek and Latin poets - became a byword for idyllic, pastoral bliss.
Nicolas Poussin's mysterious painting, The Shepherds of Arcadia (1638) is famous because of the ambiguous Latin phrase Et in Arcadia ego inscribed upon the tomb and which the shepherds are apparently trying to figure out.
It can mean "I too once lived in Arcadia", referring to the occupant of the tomb, but is more often darkly thought to imply that Death is present even in an idyllic world - and in that sense has been used by authors, poets and artists up to the present day.
On display in the Louvre, Paris.
Photo of this still-unspoiled Greek countryside. Photo 2
and photo 3
Winter (top) has a wreath of reeds, Spring and Summer (middle) have blossoms and ripened wheat respectively, and Autumn (bottom) has a wreath of grapes (?)
In the Jamahiriya Museum in Tripoli, Libya.
This mosaic adopts the usual pattern when the Seasons are depicted: a main subject in the centre of the mosaic (here a personification of Africa), with a Season in each of the four corners.
Spring is at the bottom left with flowers in her hair; summer is bottom right with stalks of wheat in her hair; Autumn at top right has bunches of fruit (grapes?) in her hair; and Winter has her hair covered with sprigs of an evergreen plant in it.
Currently at El Djem's Municipality Building, Tunisia.
Autumn (with wreath of grapes)and Winter (with hood) are at the bottom; Spring (with wreath of flowers) and Summer (with sickle) are upside down at the top.
From the House of Bacchus in the Roman city of Complutum, near Madrid, Spain.
The version as shown on p.74 of the Anthology, depicts the musical contest between Apollo and Marsyas in the centre, with the heads of the 4 Seasons at the corners. It's big and dusty, and in the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia.
Detail of Autumn from late 2nd-century AD from Cirencester in England. Autumn is characterised by the grapes in her hair and a pruning knife above her shoulder.
Famous painting from the Villa Ariadne at Stabiae (modern Castellamare di Stabia) of Flora, the goddess of flowers.
Now in Naples Archaeological Museum.
Perhaps the most famous image of any of the Seasons is that of Spring, painted in 1477 by the Italian artist Alessandro Botticelli.
The painting depicts the moment that the West Wind, Zephyrus, grabs the nymph Chloris, marries her, and transforms her into Flora - the goddess of flowers and crops, and by association, Springtime.
Here's a close-up
and here's a detail of her face
Venus, the Graces and Mercury attend the scene.
Flora's annual festival was a joyous one in the Roman year; it ran from 28 April - 3 May and was known as the Floralia
The painting, commonly known as Primavera
("Spring") is in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.
Painted in 1879 by famed French impressionist artist Renoir. In a private collection.
Yes - you can have the four beauties on your very own lawn! Can you work out which is which?
The Seasons are often represented in Classical and post-Classical poetry. For instance, John Keats in his epic poem Endymion says:
"...the Seasons four,
Green-kyrtled Spring, flush Summer, golden store
In Autumn's sickle, Winter frosty hoar..."
One of the best known poems of the seasons; written in 1819 by John Keats.
Roman Country-Life Images
Click for loads of fantastic images of the crops, fruits, animals and activities that you would have typically come across in the Roman countryside.