Ovid in Pontus

Bryan Waller Procter


HARD by the banished Euxine (a black doom!)

Haunted the poet Ovid. He was sent,

With love upon his soul, to banishment,

And sank, an amorous meteor, quenched in gloom.

Bright tears were lost when Ovid died. A man

Who loved and mourned so sweetly well might win

Melodious sorrow for his unknown sin.

All ages wept his fate: Politian

Developed his brave wrath in ten-foot verse,

And many a nameless scribbler rhymed a curse:

Only Augustus, in his timorous pride,

Exiled the poet from his beauty’s side,

Sending him, fettered, to the banished sea.

But who may chain the poet’s spirit free?

He thought and murmured—oh! and late and long

Bestowed the music of his soul in song;

Bequeathed to every wind that kissed that shore,

Sighs for lost Rome, which he must see no more;

Regrets, repinings (of all hope bereft),

And tears for Cæsar’s daughter, loved and left!

And so it was he wept long years away

By savage waters; so did he rehearse,

Throughout the paleness of the winter’s day,

The many sorrows of his love-crowned verse,

Until, in the end, he died. His grave is lost;

Somewhere it lies beyond all guess, all reach,

Though bands of wandering lovers, passion-crossed,

Have sought to find it on that desert beach.


Main Location:

Black Sea