After she had helped Theseus escaping from the labyrinth, Ariadne – deeply in love -fled with him. On their way to Athens, they stayed a night a Naxos. There Theseus was informed by Dionysus to leave her behind, as this god wanted her to be his wife. When Ariadne is asleep, Theseus secretly sails away. Ariadne of course is asked nothing.
For reasons I can’t remember anymore, I have commented on lines 25-58 long before turning my attention to this part. Maybe I found those somewhere in an anthology. To be honest, I completely forgot that I had already published of this poem, but when preparing this post, the text sounded a bit too familiar. Fortunately, all post have been labelled. I have renamed that post now. Next blogs on this poem will be in the order Ovid had in mind.
P. OVIDI NASONIS EPISTVLAE HEROIDVM, X. Ariadne Theseo
Mitius inveni quam te genus omne ferarum;
credita non ulli quam tibi peius eram.
quae legis, ex illo, Theseu, tibi litore mitto
unde tuam sine me vela tulere ratem,
in quo me somnusque meus male prodidit et tu,
per facinus somnis insidiate meis.
Tempus erat, vitrea quo primum terra pruina
spargitur et tectae fronde queruntur aves;
incertum vigilans ac somno languida movi
Thesea prensuras semisupina manus:
nullus erat. referoque manus iterumque retempto
perque torum moveo bracchia: nullus erat.
excussere metus somnum; conterrita surgo
membraque sunt viduo praecipitata toro.
protinus adductis sonuerunt pectora palmis
utque erat e somno turbida, rupta coma est.
Luna fuit; specto siquid nisi litora cernam;
quod videant oculi, nil nisi litus habent.
nunc huc, nunc illuc et utroque sine ordine, curro,
alta puellares tardat harena pedes.
interea toto clamanti litore "Theseu!"
reddebant nomen concava saxa tuum
et quotiens ego te, totiens locus ipse vocabat;
ipse locus miserae ferre volebat opem.
mitius quam te
invenio inveni inventum: to find out, discover
fera: wild animal
non credita eram ulli (ferae) peius quam tibi : I could not have been entrusted
litus litoris (n.): coast, shore
tulere = tulerunt (perf. of fero `to carry’, subject vela `sails’)
ratis ratis (f.): raft, float
prodo prodedi proditum: to betray
per facinus somnis insidiate meis: you! With a shameful deed having plotted (insidior insidiatus, vocative) against my sleeps (poetic plural) = while I was sleeping
vitrea quo primum terra pruina spargitur = quo vitrea prunia (in) terra primum spargitur
vitreus: clear, bright
spargo sparsi sparsum: to spread, sprinkle
frons frondis (f.): leafy branch
queror questus: to complain, lament
incertum: adverb with vigilans `half awake”
sumno languida: dull from sleep
Thesea: Greek acc.
prensuras (prendo prendi prensum): about/willing to touch
semisupinus: half bent backwards
iterum retempto: I tried again
excussere = excusserunt (metus is plural: they drive out)
viduus: spouseless, bereft
praecipito (-are): to cast down
protinus (adv.): immediately
adductis palmis: with my hands brought to (= beating)
utque: and as soon
rumpo rupi ruptum: to tear
coma: hair (both beating the breast and tearing the hair out are signs of grief)
siquid nisi litora cernam: if I can distinguish anything (else) but the coast
quod videant oculi, nil nisi litus habent = oculi habent nil quod videant, nisi litus
huc… illuc: hither…tither
altus : 1) high, 2) deep
puellaris: of a girl, maidenly
tardo: impede, hinder
clamanti (mihi): returned along the whole shore to me shouting
ego te (vocabam)
miserae (mihi) to me in my distress
fero opem: to help, aid (i.e. by calling Theseus’ name too)
Translation by A.S. Klyne
The whole tribe of creatures contrive to be gentler than you:
not one have I had less confidence in than you.
Theseus, what you read has been sent to you from this land,
from which your sails carried your ship without me,
in which my sleep, and you, evilly betrayed me,
conceiving your plans against me while I slept.
It was the time when the earth’s first sprinkled with glassy frost,
and the hidden birds lament in the leaves:
waking uncertainly, and stirring languidly in sleep,
half-turning, my hand reached out for Theseus:
there was no one there. I drew back, and tried again,
and moved my arm across the bed: no one there.
Fear broke through my drowsiness: terrified, I rose
and hurled my body from the empty bed.
Straight away my hands drummed on my breast, and tore at my hair,
just as it was, on waking, from my confused sleep.
There was a moon: I looked and saw nothing but the shore:
wherever my eyes could see, there was nothing but sand.
I ran here and there without any sense of purpose,
the deep sand slowing a girl’s feet.
Meanwhile I called: ‘Theseus!’ over the whole beach
your name echoing from the hollow cliffs
and as often as I called you, the place itself called too:
the place itself wished to give aid to my misery.