Elegy XIII: To Isis. A prayer that the goddess would assist Corinna, and prevent her miscarrying.With cruel art Corinna would destroy
The ripening fruit of our repeated joy.
While on herself she practises her skill,
She's like the mother, not the child, to kill.
Me she would not acquaint with what she did,
From me a thing, which I abhorr'd, she hid;
Well might I now be angry, but I fear,
Ill as she is, I might endanger her.
By me, I must confess, she did conceive,
The fact is so, or else I so believe;
We've cause to think, what may so likely be,
So is, and then the babe belongs to me
Oh Isis, who delight'st to haunt the fields,
Where fruitful Nile his golden harvest yields,
Where with seven mouths into the sea it falls,
And hast thy walks around Canope's walls,
Who Memphis visit'st, and the Pharian tower,
Assist Corinna with thy friendly powers.
Thee by thy silver Sistra I conjure,
A life so precious by thy aid secure;
So mayst thou with Osiris still find grace:
By Anubis's venerable face,
I pray thee, so may still thy rights divine
Flourish, and serpents round thy offerings twine
May Apis with his horns the pomp attend,
And be to thee, as thou'rt to her, a friend.
Look down, oh Isis! on the teeming fair,
And make at once her life and mine thy care:
Have pity on her pains; the help you give
To her, her lover saves, in her I live.
From thee this favour she deserves; she pays
Her vows to thee on all thy solemn days;
And when the Galli at thy altars wait,
She's present at the feast they celebrate.
And thou, Lucina, who the labouring womb
Dost with compassion view, to her assistance come:
Nor dost thou, when to thee thy votaries pray
For speedy help, thy wanted help delay.
Lucina, listen to Corinna's pray'r;
Thy votary she, and worthy of thy care.
I'll with my off'rings to thy altar come,
With votive myrrh thy sacred fane perfume;
The vows I make that thou my fair mayst bless,
In words inscrib'd, I'll on thy shrine express:-
"Ovid, the servant of Corinna, pray'd
The goddess here, the teeming dame to aid."
Ah, goddess! of my humble suit allow;
Give place to my inscription and my vow.
If frighted as I am, I may presume
Your conduct to direct in time to come,
Corinna, since you've suffer'd thus before,
Ah, try the bold experiment no more!