Ovid, Heroides 16 (Paris to Helen): You Don’t Have to Dig for This Fire

(Most of the Heroides are from mythical women to men…go here for the full Latin texts.)

“I, Priam’s son, remit to Leda’s daughter, this prayer for health,

A happiness I could have only if you wish me the same.

Shall I describe it, or is there no need for publishing a fire well-known

Now that my love stands out even more than I wished?

Certainly, I would have preferred it stayed hidden until the time

when fear did not cohabitate with joy.

But I pretend poorly: who can hide away a fire

That always betrays itself by its own brilliance?

If you still wait for me to give a voice to these affairs:

I burn: and you possess these words as the declaration of my soul.”

Hanc tibi Priamides mitto, Ledaea, salutem,
quae tribui sola te mihi dante potest.
eloquar, an flammae non est opus indice notae,
et plus quam vellem, iam meus extat amor?
ille quidem lateat malim, dum tempora dentur
laetitiae mixtos non habitura metus.
sed male dissimulo; quis enim celaverit ignem,
lumine qui semper proditur ipse suo?
si tamen expectas, vocem quoque rebus ut addam:
uror—habes animi nuntia verba mei.

And for the title to this post?  Apologies to the Pixies:

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