The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Publius Ovidius Naso (20 March 43 BC - AD 17) Roman poet; in English, he is usually referred to as Ovid.

Table of contents


  • Exitus acta probat
    • The result justifies the deed.
    • Variant: The ends justifies the means.
    • Heorides (c. 10 BC)
  • So I can't live either without you or with you.
    • Amores

Ars Amatoria

  • If you want to be loved, be lovable.
    • Variant: To be loved, be lovable.
  • It is convenient that there be gods, and, as it is convenient, let us believe there are.
  • Nothing is stronger than habit.
    • Variants: Nothing is more powerful than custom or habit.
      Nothing is stronger than custom.
  • They come to see; they come that they themselves may be seen.


  • Time, the devourer of all things.
    • Variant: Time is the devourer of all things.
  • We can learn even from our enemies.
    • Variant: You can learn from anyone, even your enemy.
  • In the winter season,
    For seven days of calm, Alcyone
    Broods over her nest on the surface of the waters
    While the sea-waves are quiet. Through this time
    Aeolus keeps his winds at home, and ocean
    Is smooth for his descendants' sake.
    • As translated by Rolfe Humphries


  • A horse never runs so fast as when he has other horses to catch up and outpace.
    • Variant: The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.
  • A man is sorry to be honest for nothing.
  • A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man's brow.
  • A prince should be slow to punish, and quick to reward.
  • All things may corrupt when minds are prone to evil.
  • Although they posses enough, and more than enough still they yearn for more.
  • An evil life is a kind of death.
  • As for courage and will— we cannot measure how much of each lies within us, we can only trust there will be sufficient to carry through trials which may lie ahead.
  • At times it is folly to hasten at other times, to delay. The wise do everything in its proper time.
  • Bear patiently with a rival.
  • Blemishes are hid by night and every fault forgiven; darkness makes any woman fair.
  • By faithful study of the nobler arts, our nature's softened, and more gentle grows.
  • Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish.
    • Variant: Luck affects everything. Let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it there will be a fish.
  • Courage conquers all things: it even gives strength to the body.
  • Cunning leads to knavery. It is but a step from one to the other, and that very slippery. Only lying makes the difference; add that to cunning, and it is knavery.
  • Daring is not safe against daring men.
  • Dignity and love do not blend well, nor do they continue long together.
    • Variants: Majesty and love do not consort well together, nor do they dwell in the same place.
      Love and dignity cannot share the same abode.
  • Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.
  • Endure and persist; this pain will turn to good by and by.
  • Enhance and intensify one's vision of that synthesis of truth and beauty which is the highest and deepest reality.
  • Envy aims very high.
  • Everyone wishes that the man whom he fears would perish.
  • Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour.
  • Fair peace becomes men; ferocious anger belongs to beasts.
  • First appearance deceives many.
  • First thing every morning before you arise say out loud, "I believe," three times.
  • Fortune and love favor the brave.
    • Variant: Venus favors the bold.
  • Gifts, believe me, captivate both men and Gods, Jupiter himself was won over and appeased by gifts.
  • Had I not sinned what would there be for you to pardon. My fate has given you the opportunity for mercy.
  • Happy are those who dare courageously to defend what they love.
  • He who can believe himself well, will be well.
  • How little is the promise of the child fulfilled in the man.
  • I attempt an arduous task; but there is no worth in that which is not a difficult achievement.
  • If any person wish to be idle, let them fall in love.
  • If you would marry suitably, marry your equal.
  • In an easy matter, anybody can be eloquent.
  • In our leisure we reveal what kind of people we are.
  • It is annoying to be honest to no purpose.
  • It is the mind that makes the man, and our vigour is in our immortal soul.
  • Let me tell you I am better acquainted with you for a long absence, as men are with themselves for a long affliction: absence does but hold off a friend, to make one see him the truer.
  • Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.
    • Variant: The good of other times let people state; I think it lucky I was born so late.
  • Love is a driver, bitter and fierce if you fight and resist him, Easy-going enough once you acknowledge his power.
  • Love is full of anxious fears.
  • Love will enter cloaked in friendship's name.
  • Make the workmanship surpass the materials.
  • Many women long for what eludes them, and like not what is offered them.
  • Medicine sometimes snatches away health, sometimes gives it.
  • Men do not value a good deed unless it brings a reward.
  • Minds that are ill at ease are agitated by both hope and fear.
  • My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope.
  • No man can purchase his virtue too dear, for it is the only thing whose value must ever increase with the price it has cost us. Our integrity is never worth so much as when we have parted with our all to keep it.
  • Our minds are circumscribed by our immediate reality but we stop short at the thought of it.
  • Overlook our deeds, since you know that crime was absent from our inclination.
  • People are slow to claim confidence in undertakings of magnitude.
  • Suppressed grief suffocates, it rages within the breast, and is forced to multiply its strength.
  • Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop.
  • Tears at times have all the weight of speech.
  • The burden which is well borne becomes light.
  • The cause is hidden. The effect is visible to all.
  • The high-spirited man may indeed die, but he will not stoop to meanness. Fire, though it may be quenched, will not become cool.
  • The lamp burns bright when wick and oil are clean.
  • The mind, conscious of rectitude, laughed to scorn the falsehood of report.
  • The will is commendable though the ability may be wanting.
  • There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled.
  • There is no such thing as pure pleasure; some anxiety always goes with it.
  • This also— that I live, I consider a gift of God.
  • Those things that nature denied to human sight, she revealed to the eyes of the soul.
  • Thou seest how sloth wastes the sluggish body, as water is corrupted unless it moves.
  • Time is generally the best doctor.
  • Time, motion and wine cause sleep.
  • We are ever striving after what is forbidden, and coveting what is denied us.
  • We two are to ourselves a crowd.
  • What is deservedly suffered must be borne with calmness, but when the pain is unmerited, the grief is resistless.
  • What is now reason was formerly impulse or instinct.
  • What is without periods of rest will not endure.
  • What makes men indifferent to their wives is that they can see them when they please.
  • Whether they give or refuse, it delights women just the same to have been asked.
  • Whether you call my heart affectionate, or you call it womanish: I confess, that to my misfortune, it is soft.
  • Why should I go into details, we have nothing that is not perishable except what our hearts and our intellects endows us with.
  • Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion.
  • You will go most safely in the middle.

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Last updated: 10-26-2005 03:52:15