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This poem is taken from PN Review 153, Volume 30 Number 1, September - October 2003.

The Art of Love Book III, translated by Len Krisak Ovid


Book III

I've armed you Greeks against the Amazons, and mean
      To do the same for them and for their queen.
Go battle equally! It's in Dione's hands
      And in her son's, who flies through far-flung lands.
Defenceless women fighting men? It's not the same,
      And victory would only bring men shame.
Now some might ask, 'Why give more venom to a snake,
      Or lambs to she-wolves with a thirst to slake?'
Well, don't blame everyone for bad seed some have sown;
      Instead, judge each young woman on her own.
True, Helen left poor Menelaus badly used,
      And yes, her sister stood justly accused.
It's true as well Eriphyle once had her mate
       Steed-drawn, to meet - alive - his Stygian fate.
But chaste Penelope stood by her wily lord,
      Who ten long years had wandered, ten years warred.
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