But Venus has found the way to lie stealthily with a boy,
who’s fearful yet keeps clasping tender caresses,
and to give him, panting breathlessly in the tussle of tongues,
moist kisses and to score his neck with bites.
No stones or gems can give her joy, who sleeps in cold
solitude never desired by any man.
Too late alas is love summoned back and too late youth
when gray old age has dyed your withered head.
Then it’s the study of beauty; then hair is changed, tinted
with the green rind of nuts to hide the years;
then it’s your care to pluck out white hairs by the root
and launch a new face scoured of blemishes.
But you, while your life is still flowering in its springtime,
use it: that time glides off on running feet.
And don’t torture Marathus. What glory in crushing a boy?
Be hard to veterans, girl, of long experience.
Spare, I beg you, the tender boy. His illness is far from grave,
but too much love has tinged his skin with pallor.
Look how often the wretch hurls piteous reproaches on you
in absence, drowning all his world in tears.
“Why do you scorn me?” he asks. “The guard could be overcome;
The god himself gives lovers skill to cheat.
I know the ways of stealthy Venus, how the breath is drawn
softly and even stolen kisses leave no sound.
I know how to creep about even in the middle of the night
and slyly unlock doors without a creak.
But what use are arts, if she scorns the wretched lover
and flees, that cruel girl, from love’s own bed,
or, after promising to meet, she faithlessly breaks her word
and I must lie awake in nightlong agony,
imaging that she’ll come to me, and whatever stirs,
I think at once her footsteps made the sound?”
Will you stop that weeping. She’s not to be broken down,
and your tired eyes are now swollen with tears.
The gods hate, Pholoe, let me warn you, they hate haughtiness,
and incense offered in sacred fires won’t help.
This same Marathus once made sport of wretched lovers,
blind to the vengeful god behind his back.
He even used to laugh, they say, at their tears of anguish
and made a lover linger with false delays.
Now he hates all disdain, now he’s quite displeased
at any door that’s bolted shut against him.
But punishment awaits you, if you don’t abandon pride.
You’ll long to summon back today with prayer!
6,824 total views, 9 views today