Ovid, Amores 2.6.1-10: Psittacus, Eois imitatrix ales

by Tom Gardner

Psittacus, Eois imitatrix ales ab Indis,
Occidit — exequias ite frequenter, aves!
Ite, piae volucres, et plangite pectora pinnis
Et rigido teneras ungue notate genas;
Horrida pro maestis lanietur pluma capillis,
Pro longa resonent carmina vestra tuba!
Quod scelus Ismarii quereris, Philomela, tyranni,
Expleta est annis ista querela suis;
Alitis in rarae miserum devertere funus —
Magna, sed antiqua est causa doloris Itys.

Our parrot, winged mimic from India of the rising sun,
has perished — come, birds, flock at his funeral procession!
Come ye, faithful avians, and beat your breasts with wings
and mark your soft cheeks with a stiff claw;
may your bristly feathers be torn in place of mourning hair;
in place of the long trumpet, may your songs resound!
If you, Philomela, lament the crime of the tyrant of Ismarus,
that lament has been appeased by its years;
turn yourself to the funeral procession of a remarkable bird —
Itys is a great cause for grief, but an ancient one.