Ovid in Exile

Where are the eagles and trumpets?

Where are the thighs of Corinna?

These Geats(1) are all hairy and warlike

And drink while demanding their dinner!


They blow on their horns in the morning

They swallow down mead by the barrel

They’re crude and they’re rude and they eat awful food

And they don’t wear the proper apparel.


The wind is so cold off the Pontic

The singing so loud and discordant

And the rain chills me twice when it comes down like ice

And my wits are becoming quite mordant.


Oh Caesar was mean to expel me

To this place where they valorize slaughter

For expressing some texts that were sexy

And having it off with his daughter! (2)


I don’t sing of heroes and monsters

But of picking up girls in the Forum

And gods who change shape for a nice bit of rape

All rendered with perfect decorum.


These Sarmatian poems are weird

Awallow with alliteration

Their Jupiter’s name is Old One Eye

They say he looks after their nation.


They once had a nice god called Baldur

But somebody offed him of course

I try to be jolly but they’re melancholy

And drunken and trousered and Norse.


I don’t know the way to Valhalla

They don’t know the right way to Rome

They say they’ve a bridge made of rainbows

But I only want to go home!


Footnote 1: No excuses, but he says they’re Geats — well, he says they speak Getic and that he’s learned it, all right?

Footnote 2: Actually it wasn’t Augustus’s daughter Ovid was involved with but his granddaughter, Julilla to Graves and Julia the Younger to sober classicists.

8th November 2017