Isis - Prayer to Isis on Behalf of Corinna

Prayer to Isis

“The Love Books of Ovid”

Translated by J. Lewis May

Elegy XIII

He Beseeches Isis to Come to the Aid of Corinna in Her Confinement.

My rash Corinna, seeking to rid herself of the burden she bears in her womb, hath risked the loss of her own life. For having thus, unknown to me, courted so great a danger, she merits all my wrath; but wrath gives way to fear. Howbeit it was by me that she conceived, or such, at least, is my belief; for oftentimes my facts are only peradventures.

Isis, thou who in Parætonium dost dwell, and in Canopus' kindly meads and Memphis and palm-bearing Pharos and those plains where the Nile, quitting its mighty bed, flows and bears through seven channels its hurrying waters to the sea. By thy timbrels I entreat thee, and by the head of dread Anubis--so may the pious Osiris ever accept thy offerings, so may the drowsy serpent glide round about thine altars, and the hornèd Apis march in the procession; look mercifully on Corinna, and spare two lives in one, for thou to my mistress wilt give life; she will give life to me. Full often, on days appointed for thy worship, hath she sat within thy temple at the hour when thy priests enwreathe their brows with laurel.

And thou who takest pity on women who are suffering the pangs of childbirth when they seek to be delivered of the burden that stirs within them, come, propitious Ilithyia, and hearken to my prayers. She merits that thou shouldst count her among thy favoured ones; and I, apparelled all in white, will offer incense at thine altars. I at thy feet will lay my votive gifts, and this inscription will I add: "Ovid for Corinna's safety makes this offering." And all I pray thee is to justify these same offerings and inscription.

And as for thee, Corinna, if, in my panic, I may give thee such advice, I'll say to thee, once safely out of the wood this time, take heed thou enter not again therein.

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