The three books of the Amores speak on behalf of their author, named as Naso (in full, Publius Ovidius Naso), explaining that they used to be five. They make a joke at their own expense, in a bit of captatio benevolentiae (bid for good will).
Quī modo Nāsōnis fuerāmus quinque libellī,
trēs sumus: hoc illī praetulit auctor opus.
ut iam nulla tibī nōs sit lēgisse voluptās,
at levior demptīs poena duōbus erit.
Notes on the Epigram
1–2: modo: “only recently, just now.” Hoc illī … opus = auctor praetulit hoc opus illī (operī); praeferō can mean “prefer” (OLD 6 and 7), with accusative and dative.
3–4: ut iam: “even if.” ut can be used, especially with tamen or iam, to introduce a concessive clause (AG §527a); the author is here indulging in some mock modesty. at: “nevertheless”; here after a concessive clause, see OLD 14. demptis … duobus: ablative absolute.
Listen to the Epigram