It Is Sensible to Be a Modestly Expressive Woman

The article presents sensible quotes from Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria” with advice to be a modestly expressive woman in laughter and movements.

Ovid was a well-known poet who lived in ancient Rome from 43 BCE to 17 CE. For centuries, his poetry trilogy “Ars Amatoria” (The Art of Love) has been popular among educated and noble people. Many modern humanities scholars have read and highly praised Ovid’s “The Art of Love.” In his poems, Ovid shared his wisdom on love matters with Roman men and women. He advises them on how to attract, entice affection, and keep a relationship with a partner. He also teaches them how to use the art of love in their love affairs.

The Romans lived in a different era and led a different lifestyle than we do today. But I believe that educated men and women today can learn something interesting and useful about love from Ovid’s poetry collections. This is why I’ve included excerpts from these books on this website for those interested in learning more about how ancient Romans lived and loved.

The poetry collection “Ars Amatoria” offers contemporary men and women sensible guidance on how to find, attract, and keep a partner in a relationship. The first two books of this poetry collection by Ovid offer suggestions to men on how to approach, court, and entice women. The third book teaches women the poetic wisdom of how to be attractive, lovable, and maintain loving relationships with men.

The Art of Roman Love Shared in my Previous Blog Posts

In previous blog posts, I shared some of Ovid’s poetry-based advice for men. Among the topics discussed in these beautiful verses are the following:

How to Find Her“, “Search for Love While Walking“, “Triumphs that Are Good to Attract a Woman“, “How to Win Her“, “How to Be Attentive to Her“, and “How to Make Promises and Deceive”.

The articles on this blog also include Ovid’s wisdom of love for women on “How to Appear,” “How to Keep Taste and Elegance in Hair and Dress,” “How to Use Makeup,” and “How to Hide Defects in Appearance.”

Here are the new poetic quotes with advice from Book III of Ovid’s “Ars Amatoria,” addressed to girls and women. Ovid teaches them to be moderately expressive women who are modest in their laughter and movements.

The Ovid Advice to Be a Modestly Expressive Woman in Laughter and Movements

“If you’re teeth are blackened, large, or not in line

from birth, laughing would be a fatal error.

Who’d believe it? Girls must even learn to laugh,

they seek to acquire beauty also in this way.

Laugh modestly, a small dimple either side,

the teeth mostly concealed by the lips.

Don’t strain your lungs with continual laughter,

but let something soft and feminine ring out.

One girl will distort her face perversely by guffawing:

another shakes with laughter, you’d think she’s crying.

That one laughs stridently in a hateful manner,

like a mangy ass braying at the shameful mill.

Where does art not penetrate? They’re taught to cry,

with propriety, they weep when and how they wish.

Why! Aren’t true words cheated by the voice,

and tongues forced to make lisping sounds to order?

Charm’s in a defect: they try to speak badly:

they’re taught, when they can speak, to speak less.

Weigh all this with care, since it’s for you:

learn to carry yourself in a feminine way.

And not the least part of charm is in walking:

it attracts men you don’t know, or sends them running.

One moves her hips with art, catches the breeze

with flowing robes, and points her toes daintily:

another walks like the wife of a red-faced Umbrian,

feet wide apart, and with huge paces.

But there’s measure here as in most things: both the rustic’s stride,

and the more affected step should be foregone.

Still, let the parts of your lower shoulder and upper arm

on the left side, be naked, to be admired.

That suits you pale-skinned girls especially: when I see it, I want to kiss your shoulder, as far as it’s shown.”

Kline, A. S. (2001). Translation of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria: The Art of Love.