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No beauteous sister was to thee,
Or mother, for thou would'st have spurned
Such ties as these, and though with me
Joined in close friendship thou hadst been,
I ne'er thought that could make thee play
The dastard traitor's part, but e'en
That was enough, so dear each way
Of evil is to thy base mind,
And villany of every kind.
Fair Lesbia heaps her abuse upon me,
Incessantly talking, and seeming to flout me,
And yet all the same may I perish if she
Does not in her innermost heart care about me!
And how do I know this, perhaps you will say,
Well I'll tell you, the fact is most easy to prove,
'Tis that I rail at her in the very same way,
And yet may I perish if her I don't love.
Cæsar, I take no kind of care
To aim at pleasing you ;
I know not whether you be fair,
Or whether dark in hue.
CARMEN XCV. -ON THE SMYRNA OF CINNA THE POET.
My Cinna’s Smyrna was begun,
Nine summers ere the work was done,
And when nine winters had passed by,
The work before the world did lie,
Meanwhile by thousands in one year
Hortensius' verses did appear.
In swirling depth, shall Smyrna go,
And many a future hoary age
Shall long peruse my Cinna's page;
But what Volusius has penned,
Those Annals shall in Padua end
Their brief existence, and perhaps
May serve full oft as mackerel-wraps.
My friend's works few although they be,
Are very dearly prized by me,
Antimachus' long turgid strain,
The popular applause may gain.
CARMEN XCVI. —TO CALVUS ON QUINCTILIA.
Calvus, if from out our grief,
To the dark and silent tomb, Aught can come to give relief,
Lightening its sepulchral gloom,
From old love's renewed desires,
From extinguished friendship’s fires,
All the loss which woe inspires
Perished in the course of doom,
The love Quinctilia had for thee,
The joy thy constant faith to see,
'Gainst these the fate as nought would be
Which snatched her hence in early bloom.
CARMEN XCVIII.-TO VETTIUS.
Vettius, it might be said of you,
You dirty rascal, what men do
Often of fools and windbags say
That if it were but in your way,
At nothing would you ever stick,
Your tongue e'en cowherds' shoes would lick
Or even things more foul than these,
So if your mind it now should please,
Vettius, to slay us every one,
Open your mouth, the thing is done.
CARMEN XCIX. —TO JUVENTIUS.
A kiss in sport I once did snatch, Juventius, my pet, from thee, Nor could ambrosia's sweetness match That blissful moment's ecstasy ; But I did not unpunished go, For on a rack most grievous pain, Thou mad'st me bear, while I did show Excuses which were all in vain, Ah ! well do I remember, ne'er Could I one jot of mercy gain An instant with my tears, for where The kiss had lit, to wash the stain Thou did'st thy lips with water clean, Lest of my mouth be left a trace, As though that sweet delight had been Some filthy trull's impure embrace. Thou giv’st me as a hapless prey For ever to a fatal passion, My happiness dost take away, And torturest me in cruel fashion; So that the kiss which once for me Ambrosial joy and sweetness bore, Is changed, till in its taste it be More bitter than the hellebore.
If thou such punishment dost give,
For my unhappy love for thee,
No more sweet kisses while I live
Shall e'er again be snatched by me.
CARMEN C.-ON CÆLIUS AND QUINTIUS.
For Aufilena Quintius burns,
To Aufilenus Cælius turns,
Such is the passion each doth own,
The glory of Verona's town;
For one claims friendship from the brother,
The sister's charms attract the other.
This one may call a tender tie,
A union most brotherly.
Whom do I wish most blest to be ?
Cælius I needs must favour thee,
Thy warmth of friendship gives this right,
Proved when I burned with passion's might,
Be happy, Cælius, my friend,
Success upon thy love attend.