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6. Epigram: preface from the author

© William Turpin, CC BY

The three books of the Amores speak on behalf of their author, named as Naso (in full, Publius Ovidius Naso), explaining that they used to be five. They make a joke at their own expense, in a bit of captatio benevolentiae (bid for good will).

Quī modo Nāsōnis fuerāmus quinque libellī,
trēs sumus: hoc illī praetulit auctor opus.

ut iam nulla tibī nōs sit lēgisse voluptās,
at levior demptīs poena duōbus erit.

Notes on the Epigram

1–2: modo: “only recently, just now.” Hoc illī … opus = auctor praetulit hoc opus illī (operī); praeferō can mean “prefer” (OLD 6 and 7), with accusative and dative.

3–4: ut iam: “even if.” ut can be used, especially with tamen or iam, to introduce a concessive clause (AG §527a); the author is here indulging in some mock modesty. at: “nevertheless”; here after a concessive clause, see OLD 14. demptis … duobus: ablative absolute.