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CARMEN LXVII.—LINES ON A WANTON'S DOOR.

CATULLUS.

Hail door ! by husband loved and father too,
With Jupiter's good blessing may'st thou thrive,
Thou door! who once did kindly service do
For Balbus when the old man was alive,
And it is said that after he had died,
And when thy mistress was once more a bride,
Thou didst again with ill intention do
Most sorry dirty jobs; so let us know
Why thou art changed, for 'tis reported so
That now thy loyalty no more doth hold
For that same lord whom thou did'st serve of old.

THE DOOR.

Now I can safely say, as I do trust
To please my lord Cæcilius as I must,
'Tis not my fault, although 'tis said to be,
No one can say that aught's been done by me
That is not right, and yet the people will
Lay to my charge all kind of mischief still;
If aught comes out as done amiss, they cry,
'Tis all your fault, you naughty door, oh fie!

CATULLUS.

This brief assertion's not enough for me,
Speak plainer, so that all may know and see.

THE DOOR.

How can I? no one asks or cares to know.

CATULLUS.

I do, so don't delay the facts to show.

THE DOOR.

Well, in the first place it is false, I say,

Ι That she a virgin was upon that day, When she passed through my portals, not that she Her husband's love too soon had proved, for he Had lost his manhood's vigour, but 'tis said The father filled his own son's marriage bed, Tainting the house, whether that passion's might Urged his dark soul, or that he deemed it right, Knowing the weakness of his feeble son, Some stronger man should loose his fair bride's zone.

CATULLUS.

Deed worthy of a father, nobly done !
A father makes a cuckold of his son.

THE DOOR.

Nor is this all that Brixia boasts to know,
My loved Verona's mother, where doth flow
The yellow Mela with its gentle rill
'Neath the high peak of the Cycnæan hill;
But for Postumius an unlawful love,
And for Cornelius too, her breast did move.
But, door, how know you this ? some one will say,
Fixed to this post you cannot stir away
From your lord's threshold, nor the talk of men
Can hear, the house to ope and shut again
Is all that you, a door, to do are wont.
But I have heard her secretly recount
Full often to her serving maids alone
All the dark shameful deeds that she has done,
And she would mention by their names all those
Of whom I spoke, for she could ne'er suppose
That I had tongue to speak or ears to hear.
One other, too, she spoke of, but I fear
His name to tell, lest he his eyebrows red
Should pucker up in wrath ; thus much be said,
He's a lank man to whom some long dispute
About a spurious birth once caused a suit.

ز

CARMEN LXVIII.—TO MANLIUS.

That thou, whom bitter fortune doth oppress,
This letter blotted with thy tears to me
Dost send, that like a man in ship-wreck’s stress
Cast up by foaming billows from the sea
I should restore from death and rescue thee,
For now to thee a widowed couch remains,
Nor doth great Venus suffer thee to be

Refreshed with sleep, nor do the ancient strains
Of the sweet muses still thy bosom's wakeful pains ;-

This, this it is doth joy my sorrowing heart,
That thou to me for comfort now doth send,
That here thou seek’st Love's gift and Muses' art
That so I see thou holdest me for friend.
But the sharp griefs which mine own bosom rend,
My Manlius, that thou in turn might'st know,
And lest I seem 'gainst friendship's claims to offend,

Then learn how I am whelmed 'neath waves of woe, Nor seek the gifts the happy only can bestow.

When first the white robe was conferred on me,
And my young age bloomed in its jocund spring,
Then dallied I enough, my loves were free.
And well I knew that goddess who doth bring

To mix with men's woes some sweet-bitter thing,
But now, alas! my brother is no more,
All the pursuits I loved away I fling,

All the delights are gone I had before,
With him our house lies buried, all our joys are o'er.

Thou, while thou wast alive, O brother dear,
Did'st foster all those lov'd pursuits which I
Now have abandoned, once my soul did cheer
All the resources sweet of poetry :
Thou sayest “’tis a shame thy friend should fly
And in Verona's city hide his name,
For here on thy forsaken couch doth lie

To warm those chilled limbs each man known to fame.” Nay, Manlius, call it rather misery, no shame.

Forgive me then, if I do not bestow
Those gifts on thee which sorrow's whelming tide
Hath swept away, I cannot comfort so,
No store of writings have I by my side
Because at Rome I ever did abide,
There is my home, there all my life was spent.
One case of books alone is here supplied,

So think not I decline through mean intent
Or mind ungracious the request my friend hath sent.

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