A collection by Ovid
of some 20 poems (more or less, depending on how many you believe to be authentic
), written as letters of famous heroine
s from Greek and Roman Mythology
to their absent lovers. They include a letter from Penelope
, and the disputed letter of Sappho
. Themes and treatment vary, though most seem to imply that the hero
better get his ass
home some time soon, where the hell has he been, and doesn't he have better things to do than wander around the Mediterranean
getting tanked and slaying villagers, anyway?
I'll translate part of the epistle of Ariadne to Theseus; for those who don't know the story and never saw Ariadne auf Naxos, Theseus dropped her off on the island of Naxos, telling her he'd be back soon, then splits in the morning and never returns. She is eventually rescued by the god Dionysius:
Slowly I found just what sort of beast you were,
I think there's nobody worse than you.
What you read I write to you from the shores
which you left in you ship without me,
where my slumber and you wretchedly betrayed me,
through the treacherous wickedness in my dreams.
It was a time,when first the earth was sprinkled
with glassy frost and birds sung in the shade.
Turning in my sleep I slowly moved my tired hand
to feel you there, lying next to me.
But you were gone! Again and again I felt
your pillow with my arms. You were gone!
Fear shook me from my dreams, and terrified I rose,
to see the tousled sheets of my widowed bed.
I wailed, and rent my breast with clenched fists,
the bed umade, and my hair a complete mess.
There was a moon; I looked, and saw nothing but sand,
nothing but sandy shores before my eyes.
Now here, now there, and everywhere I ran;
but the deep sand slowed my pretty little feet.
All the I cried out 'Theseus!', but only hollowed cliffs
returned the hollow echo of your name,
As often as I called for you, the cliffs returned
the call, mocking my misery.
Tragic, funny, both? Who the hell wakes up on a desert island with her hair as her first thought? They're good; go read them. A perfect piece of Ovid.