Pyramus and Thisbe (Wikisource)

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Pyramus and Thisbe
by Ovid, translated by Wikisource
Met. IV. 55-166
For works with similar titles, see Pyramus and Thisbe.

Introduction[edit]

Original Latin Literal English Translation Line

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     “Pyramus et Thisbe, iuvenum pulcherrimus alter,
altera, quas Oriens habuit, praelata puellis
contiguas tenuere domos, ubi dicitur altam
coctilibus muris cinxisse Semiramis urbem.
notitiam primosque gradus vicinia fecit,
tempore crevit amor; taedae quoque iure coissent,
sed vetuere patres; quod non potuere vetare,
ex aequo captis ardebant mentibus ambo.

"Pyramus and Thisbe, the one the most handsome of young men,
The other, preferred to all the girls whom the orient held,
occupied adjoining homes, where Semiramis is said
to have surrounded the lofty city with walls of baked brick.
Proximity caused acquaintance and first approaches,
love grew with time; [marriage] torches too would have joined [them] in law,
but their parents forbade it; [that] which they were not able to forbid
inflamed both equally, with captive minds.

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conscius omnis abest; nutu signisque loquuntur,
quoque magis tegitur, tectus magis aestuat ignis.
fissus erat tenui rima, quam duxerat olim,
cum fieret, paries domui communis utrique.

They had no one to confide all this to, with nod and signs they speak
As the fire is concealed, the more, being concealed, it burns.
[There was] a wall [which] had been split by a slender crack, which the wall had shaped a long time ago,
when it was made, for each common house.

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id vitium nulli per saecula longa notatum—
quid non sentit amor?—primi vidistis amantes
et vocis fecistis iter, tutaeque per illud
murmure blanditiae minimo transire solebant.

That flaw, known to no one through long ages —
what does love not perceive? — you lovers first saw,
and made the passage of [your] voice, and through that, flatteries
were accustomed to pass safe with the slightest murmur.

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saepe, ubi constiterant hinc Thisbe, Pyramus illinc,
inque vices fuerat captatus anhelitus oris,
‘invide’ dicebant ‘paries, quid amantibus obstas?
quantum erat, ut sineres toto nos corpore iungi,
aut, hoc si nimium est, vel ad oscula danda pateres?

often, where they stood, Thisbe here, Pyramus there,
and in interchanges had been caught the breath of the mouth,
'O envious wall,' they said, 'why do you block lovers?
how great would it be to let us be joined in whole body,
Or, if this is too much, you might lie open for kisses to be given?

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nec sumus ingrati: tibi nos debere fatemur,
quod datus est verbis ad amicas transitus auris.'
talia dīversā nequīquam sēde locūtī
sub noctem dixēre 'valē' partīque dedēre
oscula quisque suae non pervenientia contra.

nor are we ungrateful: we confess to owe you,
the fact that there was given a passage for words to friendly ears.’
Having spoken such things in vain from different places
at nightfall they said farewell and each gave to their own side
a kiss, not reaching the other [side of the wall].

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postera nocturnos Aurora removerat ignes,
solque pruinosas radiis siccaverat herbas:
ad solitum coiere locum. tum murmure parvo
multa prius questi, statuunt ut nocte silenti
fallere custodes foribusque excedere temptent,
cumque domo exierint, urbis quoque tecta relinquant,
neve sit errandum lato spatiantibus arvo,
conveniant ad busta Nini lateantque sub umbra
arboris: arbor ibi niveis uberrima pomis,
ardua morus, erat, gelido contermina fonti.

The following Dawn had removed the nocturnal fires [stars] ,
and the sun with his beams had dried the frosty grass:
they met at the usual place. Then, having with low murmur
bemoaned many things, they resolved that in the silent night
they would deceive their guardians and try to cross the gates,
and when they have left the house, they leave the buildings [lit. roofs] of the city too,
and lest they get lost wandering in open fields,
should meet at the tomb of Ninus and hide under the shade
of a tree: a tree, overladen with snow-white fruit,
a towering mulberry was there [erat], next to an icy fountain.

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pacta placent; et lux, tarde discedere visa,
praecipitatur aquis, et aquis nox exit ab isdem.
    “Callida per tenebras versato cardine Thisbe
egreditur fallitque suos adopertaque vultum
pervenit ad tumulum dictaque sub arbore sedet.

The plans please [them]; and light, that seemed to depart late,
is thrown upon the waters, and night rises from the same waters.
    'With the hinge having been turned, crafty Thisbe sets out through the darkness
and deceives her own [people] and, having veiled her face,
comes to the tomb and sits under the aforesaid tree.

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audacem faciebat amor. venit ecce recenti
caede leaena boum spumantis oblita rictus
depositura sitim vicini fontis in unda;
quam procul ad lunae radios Babylonia Thisbe
vidit et obscurum timido pede fugit in antrum,
dumque fugit, tergo velamina lapsa reliquit.

Love was making [her] brave. Behold a lioness comes, whose
foaming jaws were smeared by the recent slaughter of cattle,
about to quench her thirst in the waters of the nearby fountain
whom from afar, against the rays of the moon, Babylonian Thisbe
saw and fled with a timid foot into a dark cave,
and while she flees, she left her veil, having fallen from her back.

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ut lea saeva sitim multa conpescuit unda,
dum redit in silvas, inventos forte sine ipsa
ore cruentato tenues laniavit amictus.

Just as the fierce lioness quenched her thirst with much water,
while she returned into the forest, she mangled with bloody mouth
the thin cloaks found by chance without [Thisbe] herself .

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serius egressus vestigia vidit in alto
pulvere certa ferae totōque expalluit ore
Pyramus; ut vero vestem quoque sanguine tinctam
repperit, ‘una duos’ inquit ‘nox perdet amantes,
e quibus illa fuit longā dignissima vitā;
nostra nocens anima est. ego te, miseranda, peremi,
in loca plēna metūs quī iussī nocte venīrēs
nec prior huc veni. nostrum divellite corpus
et scelerata fero consumite viscera morsu,
o quīcumque sub hāc habitātīs rūpe leōnēs!

Having gone out later, [Pyramus] saw, in deep
sand, the certain tracks of a wild animal, and his whole face
turned pale, when [ut] indeed also the garment stained with blood
[he] discovered. 'one night', he said, 'will destroy two lovers,
from which she was most worthy for long life.
My soul is guilty. I killed you, O [girl] who must be pitied,
[I] who, in places full of dread, ordered you to come by night,
nor did come here first. Tear apart our body
and devour our wicked entrails with your fierce bite,
O whatever lions dwell under this rock!

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sed timidi est optare necem.' velamina Thisbes
tollit et ad pactae secum fert arboris umbram,
utque dedit notae lacrimas, dedit oscula vesti,
'accipe nunc' inquit 'nostri quoque sanguinis haustus!'
quoque erat accinctus, demisit in ilia ferrum,
nec moră, ferventī moriens e vulnere traxit.

But it belongs to a timid man to wish for death.' Thisbe’s veil
he lifts, and brings it with him to the shade of the tree agreed [on],
and as he shed [dedit] tears, and gave [dedit] kisses to the well-known garment,
'accept now', he said, 'draughts of our blood too!'
and he sent into his bowels the iron [sword] with which he had girt himself,
nor was [there] delay: dying he dragged the sword from his steaming wound.

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ut iacuit resupinus humo, cruor emicat alte,
non aliter quam cum vitiato fistulă plumbo
scinditur et tenui stridente foramine longas
eiaculatur aquas atque ictibus aera rumpit.
arborei fetūs adspergine caedis in atram
vertuntur faciem, madefactaque sanguine radix
purpureō tinguit pendentia mōra colōrē.

As he lay on his back on the ground, blood spurts high,
no otherwise than when, split with damaged lead, a pipe
is cut, and through a thin hissing hole, a long stream of water
is spurted out and breaks the air with strokes.
The fruits of the tree turn the appearance black with a sprinkling
of slaughter, and the root soaked with blood
dye the hanging mulberries with purple color.

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    “Ecce metu nondum posito, ne fallat amantem,
illa redit iuvenemque oculis animoque requirit,
quantaque vitarit narrare pericula gestit;
utque locum et visā cognoscit in arbore formam,
sic facit incertam pomi color: haeret, an haec sit.
dum dubitat, tremebunda videt pulsare cruentum
membra solum, retroque pedem tulit, oraque buxo
pallidiora gerens exhorruit aequoris instar,
quod tremit, exigua cum summum stringitur aura.
sed postquam remorata suos cognovit amores,
percutit indignos claro plangore lacertos
et laniata comas amplexaque corpus amatum
vulnera supplevit lacrimis fletumque cruori
miscuit et gelidis in vultibus oscula figens
‘Pyrame,’ clamavit, ‘quis te mihi cāsus ademit?

Behold with fear not yet placed aside, lest she should fail her lover
she returns and seeks the young man with her eyes and in spirit
she longs to tell how many dangers she avoided;
and as she knows the place and the form of the tree seen,
so the color of the fruit makes her unsure: she is uncertain if this is [the tree].
While she hesitates, she sees that quivering limbs beat the blood-stained
soil, and she carried a foot backwards, she shuddered
bearing an expression [lit. a face] paler than a boxwood, like the water surface
which trembles when the top is grazed by a slight breeze.
but after, having paused, she recognized her own love,
she strikes her unworthy arms with shrill lamentation
and mangled to her hair and having embraced the beloved body
she filled the wound with tears and mixed her weeping with
the gore and fixing kisses on cold countenances,
she shouted “O Pyramus, what misfortune takes you from me?

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Pyrame, responde! tua te carissima Thisbe
nominat; exaudi vultusque attolle iacentes!’
ad nomen Thisbes oculos a morte gravatos
Pyramus ērexit visāque recondidit illā.

O Pyramus, respond! Your most dear Thisbe
calls you; heed and lift your lying countenances!”
At the name ‘Thisbe’ Pyramus stirred eyes made heavy by death
and closed them again after she was seen.

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    “Quae postquam vestemque suam cognovit et ense
vidit ebur vacuum, ‘tua te manus’ inquit ‘amorque
perdidit, infelix! est et mihi fortis in unum
hōc manus, est et amor: dābit hǐc in vulnera vires.

    “After she recognized her veil, she saw the ivory [sheath] without
a sharpened point, [and] said “your hand and love has destroyed you,
o unlucky one! For this one thing I have both
a brave hand and the love: this [love] will give strength to wounds.

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persequar extinctum letique miserrima dicar
causa comesque tui: quique a me morte revelli
heu sola poteras, poteris nec morte revelli.
hōc tāmēn ambōrum verbīs estōte rogāti,
ō multum miseri meus illiusque parentes,
ut, quos certus amor, quos hora novissima iunxit,
conponi tumulo non invideatis eodem;

I’ll accompany [you] perished, and I most disturbed will be said
your death’s cause and companion: you who could be plucked away from me
alas by death alone, nor can you be torn away by death.
however be this to be asked with words of both [of us],
o my and his most wretched parents
begrudge not us, whom certain love, whom the final hour joined,
to be placed together in the same afterlife;

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at tu, quae ramis arbor miserabile corpus
nunc tegis unius, mox es tectura duorum,
signa tene caedis pullosque et luctibus aptos
semper habē fetūs, geminī monumenta cruoris.’

but you tree, who covers the miserable corpse of one now
with branches, are soon to cover [the bodies] of two,
hold signs of slaughter and always have fruit, dark
and fitting for sorrows, as tokens of double bloodshed.”

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dixit et aptato pectus mucrone sub imum
incubuit ferro, quod adhuc a caede tepebat.
vota tamen tetigere deos, tetigere parentes;
nam color in pomo est, ubi permaturuit, ater,
quodque rogis superest, una requiescit in urna.”

She spoke and with the armor fastened under her lowest chest
she lay upon the iron, which still was warm from his bloodshed.
Nevertheless her prayer touched the gods, touched her parents:
for the color is in the fruit, when it has thoroughly matured, black,
and that which remains of a funeral pyre, rests in one urn.”

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  1. 'The wall common to each house' = 'paries domui communis utrique' on the next line.
  2. Aurora = dawn