She nodded and with the gesture she gave the sign of her favour What the

She nodded and with the gesture she gave the sign of

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on my enterprise, give my new mistress this thought – let her allow herself to be loved. She nodded, and with the gesture she gave the sign of her favour! What the goddess has promised, I ask that you should promise yourself. May Venus permit me to say it – you will be the greater goddess. I swear to you by all these witnesses and the procession of the gods, that you are the mistress whom I have sought to be mine for ever. But your legs are dangling: if you like, you can rest your toes on the rail. ‘Now is the great event, the Circus is cleared, the praetor has released the four-horse chariots at the starting line. I see the team you support. Whoever you favour will win. The horses themselves seem to know what you want. Oh no! He has driven too wide around the post. What are you doing? The next man is right behind you. What are you doing, you wretch? You are wrecking the hope of my girl; please, pull strongly on the left reins. We’ve backed a loser. But call them back, Romans, give the sign! Flap your togas everyone! Look, they are calling them back! Now, to prevent the togas disturbing your hair, you can hide yourself in my toga’s folds. ‘Now the doors are open again, the horses are released, the multi-coloured line flies out. Be the winner now, at least, and make for the clear field. Bring my prayers, bring the prayers of my mistress to fulfilment. The prayers of my mistress are fulfilled, my prayers still wait. He holds the palm, my palm is still to be won. She laughed and promised something with her bright eyes. That’s enough for here; give me the rest elsewhere!’ 24 Ovid Fasti 2.533-570 Remembering the dead Honour is given to tombs as well. Placate the souls of your fathers and bring small gifts to the pyres after they have died down. The dead want only small gifts, piety pleases them more than a rich gift: the gods in the depths of the Styx are not greedy. A tile wreathed in garlands you offer is enough, along with sprinkled corn and a few grains of salt, and bread softened in wine and loose violets. Put these in the jar left in the middle of the road. I do not forbid larger gifts, but a ghost can be placated even by these. Add prayers and appropriate words at the hearths you have set up. This was the custom which Aeneas, fit source of piety, brought to your lands, righteous Latinus. He used to bring solemn gifts to the spirit of his father; from this the peoples learned the pious rites. But once upon time, while they waged long wars with fighting weapons, they abandoned the Parental Days. This did not go unpunished; for it is said that it was from that omen that Rome grew hot with the pyres of the dead outside the city. In fact I scarcely believe this: they say that our ancestors came out of their graves and uttered groans during the silent night, and they say that through the city streets and the wide fields howled ugly spirits, a ghostly crowd. After that, the honours they had neglected were given to the tombs, and the prodigies and funerals came to an end.
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