Men Must Be Smart and Do Not Rush When With a Woman

People have been thinking about and falling in love for centuries. The same way, in the modern world, men and women from a variety of cultures are captivated by questions pertaining to love. Love has become a popular topic in scholarly studies.

Let’s take a look at what people in the past knew about love. The Roman poet Ovid, for example, wrote the three well-known books of poetry that comprise “Ars Amatoria.” Later in the centuries, they were translated into English as “The Art of Love.”

Written in the first century BCE, “Ars Amatoria” depicted in fascinating detail the self-indulgent and stylish lives of the Roman upper class. Ovid taught Roman men and women of the upper class the art of love and sexual relations. In his poems, he taught men and women how to find a lover, win their love, and maintain a love affair.

His poetic love writings have become a scholarly landmark as well as a masterpiece in the art of love. His wise counsel on how to deal with romantic relationships has been passed down through the ages, cultures, and generations.

In 1885, Henry Riley, translated the “Ars Amatoria” poems of Ovid literally into English prose (Riley, 1885/2014). Recently, in 2001, Anthony Kline translated Ovid’s poems of “Ars Amatoria” into English poetic form (Kline, 2001).

Men and women live today in a totally different historical period. They live in a drastically different culture than the people of ancient Rome. So, for them, it may be difficult to read these books without knowledge of the past cultural context.

But I think that men and women living in the modern world can learn a lot from how people in the past thought about love. Ovid suggested many smart things about the art of love that are still valuable and make sense today. So, I still think these books are interesting and important to read.

Because of this, I have put some interesting pieces of Ovid’s great books about the art of love, as translated by Anthony Kline, on this blog.

Men can learn a lot about love and relationships from the amazing poems of Book I. They could find intriguing suggestions in Ovid’s poems for “How to Find Her” (Part 2), “How to Win Her” (Part 9), “How to Make Promises of Love to Her” (Part 12), “How to Entice and Seduce a Woman” (Parts 13 and 14), “How to Make Promises and Deceive” (Part 16), “How Tears and Kisses Help in Love Affairs” (Part 17), “Psychology Love Tricks in the Art of Love” (Parts 18-19), and others.

More clever advice for men on love can be found in the poems in Book II. For example, Parts V, VI, and VII demonstrate how crucial it is in love affairs (a) not to be faint-hearted, (b) win over the servants, and (c) give her little tasteful gifts.

In Book II, Ovid speaks how to Be Gentle and Good-Tempered in Love Relations (Part III), Let Her Miss You, but Not For Long (Part X), how to Stir Her Jealousy in Their Art of Love (Part XIII), Be Wise and Ready to Suffer in Love (Part XIV).

Here is Part XIX of Ovid’s Book II, advising men to be smart and, therefore, not rush dealing with a woman.

Do Not Rush When in Love, Part XIX of Book II:

“See, the knowing bed receives two lovers:

halt, Muse, at the closed doors of the room.

Flowing words will be said, by themselves, without you:

and that left hand won’t lie idle on the bed.

Fingers will find what will arouse those parts,

where love’s dart is dipped in secrecy.

Hector did it once with vigour, for Andromache,

and wasn’t only useful in the wars.

And great Achilles did it for his captive maid,

when he lay in his sweet bed, weary from the fight.

You let yourself be touched by hands, Briseis,

that were still dyed with Trojan blood.

And was that what overjoyed you, lascivious girl,

those conquering fingers approaching your body?

Trust me, love’s pleasure’s not to be hurried,

but to be felt enticingly with lingering delays.

When you’ve reached the place, where a girl loves to be touched,

don’t let modesty prevent you touching her.

You’ll see her eyes flickering with tremulous brightness,

as sunlight often flashes from running water.

Moans and loving murmurs will arise,

and sweet sighs, and playful and fitting words.

But don’t desert your mistress by cramming on more sail,

or let her overtake you in your race:

hasten to the goal together: that’s the fullness of pleasure,

when man and woman lie there equally spent.

This is the pace you should indulge in, when you’re given

time for leisure, and fear does not urge on the secret work.

When delay’s not safe, lean usefully on the oar,

and plunge your spur into the galloping horse.

While strength and years allow, sustain the work:

bent age comes soon enough on silent feet.

Plough the earth with the blade, the sea with oars,

take a cruel weapon in your warring hands,

or spend your body, and strength, and time, on girls: this is warlike service too, this too earns plenty.”

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