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The Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses


by Ovid

The Metamorphoses Religion Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation, but these citations refer not to the lines in Mandelbaum's edition, but to the original Latin.

Quote #10

O you, gods
who were Aeneas' comrades, you who saved
the Trojan from the sword and from the flames;
and you, the native gods of Latium;
as well as you who fathered Rome, Quirinus;
you, Mars, invincible Quirinus' father;
you, Vesta, who maintain a sacred place
among the tutelary gods of Caesar;
you, Phoebus, joined to Vesta as a god
who watches over Caesar's house; and Jove,
who have your shrine atop Tarpeia's rock;
and all you other gods to be invoked –
most properly – by one who is a poet:
I beg you to delay beyond my death
that day on which Augustus, having left
the world he governs, will ascend on high
and there, from heaven – one no longer present
on earth – will hear the prayers addressed to him. (15.861-870)

These words, very near the end of the poem, shows Ovid exercising his own piety. Or then again, maybe it's just an exercise in kissing up. We mean, come on, praying to the gods to make your boss (Augustus) live longer than you do, and then saying that he's going to become a god too. Oh well, the joke's on him, because then at the very end of the poem, Ovid says that his poetic fame will be higher than the stars, which kind of sounds like he's saying he's going to be even better than the gods. Maybe Ovid isn't so pious after all. What's your take?

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