Old Venus (Old, Book 1)


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Though she often calls for you, remember, go only once: that which is envied often fails to last. But this age should still not change my habits: let each man be allowed to go his own way. But you, that recall service to many loves, if so, what pain afflicts your eyes! You see a tender girl of pure white, you see a dark: either colouring commands you. You see a form that expresses the Greek , or you see our beauties, either aspect seizes you.

I saw you, in my dreams, mea vita , shipwrecked, striking out with weary hands, at the Ionian waters, confessing whatever ways you lied to me, unable to raise your head, hair heavy with brine, like Helle , whom once the golden ram carried on his soft back, driven through the dark waves. How frightened I was, that perhaps the sea would bear your name, and the sailor would weep for you, slipping through your waters! What gifts I entertained for Neptune , then, for Castor and his brother, what gifts for you Leucothoe , now a goddess! At least, like one about to die, you called my name, often, barely lifting your fingertips above the deep.

And already I was trying to hurl myself from a high rock, when fear woke me from such visions. Let them admire the fact, now, that so lovely a girl serves me, and that they talk of my power throughout the city! Loyalty is great in love: constancy greatly serves it: he, who can give many gifts, can have his many lovers. One shore will calm us, and one tree overspread us, and we will often drink at a single spring. Let Jupiter himself set our boat on fire, so long as she is never absent from my eyes.

The god redeemed his pledge for that embrace, and the golden urn poured out a celestial stream. And Orithyia , though raped, denied that Boreas was cruel: this god tames the earth and deep oceans. Believe me Scylla will be gentle to us, and huge Charybdis who never ceases from her changing flow: no shadows will hide the stars themselves, Orion will show clear, and the Kids.

What does it matter if my life is laid down upon your body? It will not be a dishonourable death. You mortals, then, enquire for the uncertain funeral hour, and by what road death will come to you: and you enquire of the cloudless sky, by Phoenician art, which stars are good for man, and which are evil!

You weep again that your head is threatened by war, when Mars joins the wavering ranks on either side: and by your burning house, by your house in ruins: and no cup of darkness to lift to your lips. That time has come when the scorching air burns, and Earth starts to blaze under the torrid Dog-star.

This undoes girls, this has undone them before: what they promise, the winds and the waves carry away. Was Venus annoyed that you were compared to her? You beauties have never learned to be sparing with words. Your tongue was harmful to you in this: your beauty gave it to you. Ino strayed as a girl over the earth: she the wretched sailors call on, as Leucothoe. Andromeda was given to the sea-monster: even she was the honoured wife of Perseus. Callisto , a she-bear, wandered Arcadian pastures: now she rules sails of night with her star. Now, as best as you can, comply, stricken, with fate: the god and the harsh day itself may both change.


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Juno , the wife, might even forgive you: even Juno is moved if a young girl dies. The chanting of magic, the whirling bullroarers cease, and the laurel lies scorched in the quenched fires. Now the Moon refuses as often to climb down from heaven, and the dismal night bird sounds its funeral note. One raft of fate carries both our loves, setting dark-blue sails to the lake of Hell. But take pity on both of us, not just on one! Down there with you is Iope ; with you shining Tyro ; with you is Europa , and wicked Pasiphae ; and whatever beauty old Troy and Achaia bore, the bankrupt kingdoms of ancient Priam and of Apollo ; and whoever among that number was a Roman girl, perished: every one of them the greedy fire possesses.

No one has endless fortune, or eternal beauty: later or sooner death awaits us all. Since you have escaped, mea lux , out of great danger pay Diana the gift of the song and dance you owe her, and keep vigil as well for that heifer, now a goddess; and, for my sake, give her the ten nights you vowed. But all were naked. Saying this, in a moment, a rope was round my neck.

Stop, now, brothers, now he promises true love, and look, now, we have come to the house as ordered. It was dawn, and I wanted to see if she slept alone: and alone she was, in her bed. So she looked to me, shedding recent sleep. Oh, how great is the power of beauty in itself! There are no traces deep in the bed, signs of wallowing about, or of mutual slumber.

Look, no breath panting from my whole body, confessing adultery. Now, you get ready to go to Phrygia , cruel one, now, over the waves, and seek by ship the shore of Hyrcanian seas. Where are you going, O, mad one? Even if winds, divided, snatch you on winged sandals, the highways of Mercury will do you no good. Love always pursues overhead, pursues lovers, and himself sits heavy on the neck that was free.

Let hard old men denounce the revels: mea vita , let us wear out the path we chose. Should I be ashamed to live serving one mistress? Cynthia , be pleased to lie with me, in caves of dew, in mossy hills. Then, when they put you in the front rank of the circling dance, Bacchus there in the middle with his cunning wand, then I will let the sacred ivy berries hang from my head: since without you my genius has no power. You ask why I come to you late?

Then in the midst, the temple reared up in bright marble, dearer to Phoebus than his Ortygian land. Right on the top were two chariots of the Sun, and the doors of Libyan ivory, beautifully done. Next the Pythian god himself was singing, in flowing robes, between his sister and mother. He who seemed to me, more beautiful than the true Phoebus, lips parted in marble song to a silent lyre. O Cynthia , why else do you search out dubious oracles at Praeneste , or the walls of Aeaean Telegonus?

Why do chariots take you to Herculean Tibur? Why the Appian Way, so often, to Lanuvium? But the crowd tell me not to trust you, when it sees you rush faithfully, carrying a torch, on fire, to the sacred grove, and bear light to the goddess Trivia. Lately a rumour spoke evil in my ear, and nothing good was said about you in the city.

Helen abandoned her country for a foreign lover, and was brought home again alive without being judged. They say that Venus herself was corrupted by libidinous Mars , but was always honoured, nevertheless, in heaven. Who gave it? Where did his gifts come from? Lesbia did all these things before, with impunity: anyone who follows her is surely less to blame. So if you imitate Greek and Roman women, I sentence you to be free for life! This goddess, whoever she was, who so often separates lovers, was always ill-natured.

Surely Io you learnt from hidden couplings with Jove , what it is to go many ways, when Juno ordered you, a girl, to wear horns, and lose your speech to the harsh sound cows make. Oh, how often you galled your mouth on oak-leaves, and chewed, in your stall, on once-eaten strawberry leaves! Why take such a long journey to Rome? What good is it to you that the girls sleep alone? You drink, indifferent: are you not wrecked by midnight, and is your hand not weary throwing the dice?

Perish the man who discovered neat wine, and first corrupted good water with nectar! Icarius you were rightly killed by Cecropian farmers, you have found how bitter the scent is of the vine. You, Eurytion the Centaur , also died from wine, and Polyphemus , you by Ismarian neat. Let your table be drenched with more jets of Falernian , and foam higher in your golden cup.

No girl ever willingly goes to bed alone: something there is that desire forces us all to search for. Mine was nearly stolen away like that. That god corrupts families, separates friends, and makes sad calls to arms to those in happy agreement. Lynceus , you traitor, then, how could you lay hands on my darling? Could you have lived with the shame? Kill me with daggers or poison: just take yourself off, away from my mistress. But the frown of strict morality will never fool me: everyone knows by now how good it is to love. My Lynceus, himself, insane at last with love!

What use now the wisdom of Socratic works, or being able to talk of the nature of things? Old men are no help with a great love. Stop composing tragic Aeschylean verse, stop and let your limbs go, in soft choric dancing. Begin to turn your verse on a tighter lathe, and come to your own flames, hardened poet. You shall not go more safely than Homer , or than Antimachus : a virtuous girl even looks down on the gods.

Nor will you be able to suffer harsh love on your own. First, your truculence must be quelled by me. Look at me, with hardly any wealth left to my family, with no ancestral triumphs long ago, but here I rule the fun, among the crowd of girls, by the intellect you disparage! Give way you Roman authors! Give way you Greeks! Under the pine-trees of shadowed Galaesus , you sing, of Thyrsis and Daphnis , with the practised flute, and how the gift of ten apples, or an un-weaned kid, can corrupt a girl. Happy who buys their love cheaply with apples! Tityrus herself, the unkind, might sing for that.

Happy that Corydon who tries to snatch virgin Alexis , delight of his master, the farmer! And you sing the precepts of old Hesiod , the poet, what plains crops grow well on, what hills should grow vines. You make such music as Apollo mingles, fingers plucking his cunning lyre. The swan dies, melodious, with no less spirit, though with less effrontery than the ignorant song of the goose. And but now, in the waters of Hell, dead Gallus washed multiple wounds, from lovely Lycoris! Book III. Ghosts of Callimachus , and shrines of Coan Philetas , I pray you, allow me to walk in your grove.

I am the first to enter, a priest of the pure fountain, to celebrate Italian mysteries in the rhythms of Greece. Tell me in what valley did you both spin out your song? On what feet did you enter? Which waters did you drink? Away with the man who keeps Phoebus stuck in battle! Let verse be finished, polished with pumice — because of it Fame lifts me high above Earth, and, born of me, a Muse goes, in triumph, with flower-hung horses, and young Loves ride with me in a chariot, and a crowd of writers hangs at my wheels.

Why struggle, vainly, against me, with slack reins? Muses grant your poet gentle garlands: a hard crown would never suit my head. Their own soil would scarcely know Deiphobus , Helenus , Pulydamas , or Paris embracing any kind of arms. Nor would Homer , himself, who wrote your fall, not feel his work made greater by posterity. And Rome will praise me among later generations: I foresee that day myself, after the fire. Let me return, meanwhile, to the world of my poetry: let my girl take delight, moved by familiar tones.

No wonder if, befriended by Bacchus and Phoebus , a crowd of girls cherish my words? My poems are so many records of your beauty. Who asked you to meddle with epic song? Why is your page wrenched from its destined track? He said it, and showed me a place with his ivory plectrum, where a new path had been made in mossy ground. This one chose ivy for a wand, that one tuned the strings for a song, and another planted roses with either hand. And one of this crowd of goddesses touched me it was Calliope , I think, by her face , saying:.

So Calliope said, and, drawing up liquid from her fountain, sprinkled my lips with the waters of Philetas. Caesar , our god, plots war against rich India , cutting the straits, in his fleet, over the pearl-bearing ocean. Men, the rewards are big: far lands prepare triumphs: Tiber , and Euphrates will flow to your tune. Go, get going, prows expert in battle: set sail: and armoured horses do your usual duty! I sing you auspicious omens.

And avenge that disaster of Crassus! Go and take care of Roman history! O primal earth shaped badly by Prometheus! He set to work on the heart without enough care. He laid the body out with art, but forgot the mind: the right road for the spirit should have been first. It pleases me too to cloud my mind with much wine, and always have spring roses round my head. Every messenger should be without deceit: a fearful servant should be even truer. So, did you see her weep with dishevelled hair, vast waters pouring from her eyes? Did you see no mirror, Lygdamus, on the covers, on the bed?

No rings on her snow-white fingers? And a mourning-robe hanging from her soft arms, and her letter-case closed lying by the foot of the bed. Was the house sad, and her servants sad, carding thread, and she, herself spinning among them, and pressing the wool to her eyes, drying their moisture, and going over our quarrel in querulous tones?

If that pleases him, let him mock at my death, Lygdamus. The spider will weave corruption in his empty bed, and Venus will sleep, herself, on their nights together. While he was chasing you, the poor man was cut down in his prime, and floats an alien food for far-off fish. Paetus, the seabirds hover over your bones, and you have the whole Carpathian Sea now for a tomb. Cruel North-Wind , whom ravished Orithyia feared, how great are the spoils to be won from him? Why do you find joy in shipwreck, Neptune?

That ship carried righteous men. The waves have no gods. Though your cables were fastened to rocks, the storms in the night fell on them: frayed them all: tore them away. Return his body to earth: his spirit is lost in the deep. Worthless sands, of your own will, cover Paetus. Go, and shape curving keels, and weave the causes of death: these deaths come from the actions of human hands. Earth was too small for fate, we have added the oceans: by our arts we have added to the luckless paths of fortune. Can the anchor hold you, whom the household gods could not?

Nature lying in wait has paved the watery paths of greed: and it can scarcely be that you can, even once, succeed. The cliffs of Caphareus shattered a triumphant fleet, when the Greeks were shipwrecked drawn down by the salt mass. Ulysses wept for his comrades hurled down one by one: his wiliness was worth nothing confronting the sea. From him, still living, the surge tore away his nails, and unwillingly, poor man, his throat swallowed the waters: then the wild night saw him carried on a piece of plank: so many evils gathered for Paetus to perish.

Are these guilty hands I bring to your seas? Alas for me, the sharp cliffs of the halycon will tear me! The dark-green god has struck me with his trident. At least let the tide hurl me on Italian shores: what is left of me will suffice if it only reaches my mother. Our quarrel by lamplight last night was sweet to me, and all those insults from your furious tongue, when frenzied with drinking you pushed the table back, and threw full glasses over me, with an angry hand.

Truly bold, attack my hair, you, and mark my face with your lovely nails, threaten to scorch my eyes with a flame beneath them, rip my clothes and bare my chest! You give me certain signs of love: no woman is in pain unless out of deep passion. Let my friends see the wounds in my bitten neck: let the bruises show my girl has been with me. I hate those sighs that never shatter sleep: I would always wish to turn pale for an angry girl. The passion was dearer to Paris when he could cut his way through Greek ranks to bring pleasure to his daughter of Tyndareus. As for you, a Vulcan , who wove a net for our bed, may your father-in-law be immortal, and your house never lack her mother!

You who were granted the wealth of one stolen night, it was her anger against me, not love of you that gave it. Maecenas , knight of the blood of Etruscan kings, you who are keen to achieve success: why set me adrift on such a vast literary sea? Apelles claims highest place for paintings of Venus : Parrhasius deserves his for art in miniature. Though an officer of the Roman state, allowed to set up the axes of law, and judge in the midst of the Forum ; though you pass through the fierce spears of the Medes , and burden your house with weapons on nails; though Caesar grants you power to achieve things, and easy money slithers in all the time; you hold back, and, humbly, crouch in the lowly shadows: and draw in your bellying sails yourself.

Let these poems inflame our youths, and our girls: let them celebrate me as a god, and bring me sacrifice! Gentle patron seize the reins of my fresh undertakings, and give the sign with your right hand when my wheels are let loose. I wondered what the Muses had sent me, at dawn, standing by my bed in the reddening sunlight.

Let this day pass without a cloud, the winds still in the air, and threatening waves fall gently on dry land. And oh, you, my dearest girl, born to happy auguries, rise, and pray to the gods who require their dues. First wash sleep away with pure water, and dress your shining hair with deft fingers. And ask that the beauty that is your power may always be yours, and that your command over my person might last forever. Submit the strident flute to nocturnal dancing, and let your wantonness be free with words, and let sweet banqueting stave off unwelcome sleep, and the common breeze of the neighbouring street be full of the sound.

And let fate reveal to us, in the falling dice, those whom the Boy strikes with his heavy wings. Why do you wonder if a woman entwines my life and brings a man enslaved under her rule? The sailor can best foretell his future fate, the soldier is taught by his wounds to nurture fear. I once boasted like you when I was young: now let my example teach you to be afraid.

Amazon Penthesilea once dared to attack the Danaan fleet with arrows fired from horseback: she whose bright beauty conquered the conquering hero, when the golden helmet laid bare her forehead. Semiramis built Babylon , the Persian city, so that it rose a solid mass with ramparts of baked brick, and two chariots might set out on the walls, in opposite directions, without their axles touching and sides scraping: she diverted the River Euphrates through the centre of the city she founded, and commanded Bactra to bow its head to her rule.

Why should I seize on heroes, why gods who stand accused? Jupiter shames himself and his house. Why Cleopatra , who heaped insults on our army, a woman worn out by her own attendants, who demanded the walls of Rome and the Senate bound to her rule, as a reward from her obscene husband? Noxious Alexandria , place so skilled in deceit, and Memphis so often bloody with our grief, where the sand robbed Pompey of his three triumphs. Rome, no day will ever wipe away the stain.

Better for you Pompey, ill at Naples, if your funeral procession had crossed the Phlegraean Plain, or that you had bowed your neck to Caesar , your father-in-law. Celebrate a triumph Rome , and saved by Augustus beg long life for him! I saw your arms bitten by the sacred asps, and your limbs draw sleep in by a secret path. The gods founded them, may the gods protect these walls: with Caesar alive, Rome need scarcely fear Jove. Apollo of Actium will speak of how the line was turned: one day of battle carried off so vast a host. But you, sailor, whether leaving or making for harbour, be mindful of Caesar through all the Ionian Sea.

She in the meantime will pine away at each idle rumour, for fear your courage will cost you dear, or the arrows of Medes enjoy your death, or the armoured knight on a golden horse, or some bit of you be brought back in an urn to be wept over. Your morals deserve a different wife!

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What shall a girl do with no fear to guard her, with Rome to instruct her in its voluptuousness? But rest secure: gifts will not win Galla, and she will not recall how hard you were. On whatever day fate sends you safely home, modest Galla will hang about your neck. Not in vain, since his wife had stayed chaste at home. The reason for such ruin is clear and certain: the path to voluptuousness has been made too easy. These weapons take sheltered modesty by storm: even those who show disdain like yours Penelope. Happy that singular custom at the funerals of Eastern husbands that the reddening dawn colours with her chariot!

The winners are inflamed and offer their breasts to the fire and rest their scorched faces on their husband.

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Happy were the young country folk, once, peaceable: whose wealth was in orchards and harvests. With such blandishments as these the kisses of girls were won, given to sylvan youths in secret hollows. The pine leaned over them and threw its rich shadows round them: and it was not a sin to see the goddesses naked. The horned ram, head of the flock, led back his sated ewes himself to the empty fold of Pan the shepherd god.

But now the shrines decay in deserted groves: all worship money now piety is vanquished. Money drives out loyalty, justice is bought for money, money rules the law, and, without the law, then shame. For money, vile Polymestor of Thrace , reared you, Polydorus , in impious hospitality. Amphiaraus is lost, and his horses swallowed up, so that you Eriphyla can cover your shoulders with gold.

I speak truth, but no one will believe. Her frenzies were fitting for her father and her house: in vain her tongue experienced the true gods. You yourself can speak about things without a go-between: no long waiting rebuffs you. No Tyrian garments beguile roving eyes, no affected toying with perfumed hair. So let me know, now, no more storms in my love, and let the night not come to me when I lie awake without you!

While three years have passed it is not much less I can barely remember ten words between us. Your love has buried everything, no woman, since you, has thrown a sweet chain about my neck. Dirce is evidence, made jealous by a true reproach that Antiope had slept with her Lycus. How often she loaded the servant girl with unreasonable tasks, and ordered her to sleep on the hard ground! Often she suffered her to live in filth and darkness, often she refused her foul water for her thirst. Heavy chains scar her wrists.

Yet on her own, with whatever strength was in her body, she broke the royal manacles with both hands. It was night and her sad couch was scattered with frost. Driven from her house their mother tested her hard-hearted son Zethus and her son Amphion easily moved to tears. And as the sea ceases its vast heaving, when the East wind leaves its assault on the South-West , and the coast is quiet, and the sounds of the shore diminish, so the girl sank on her bended knees.

Still piety came though late: her sons knew their error. But be careful of tormenting Lycinna who does not deserve it: your headlong anger knows no retreat. May no story about us strike your ears: you alone I will love, though burned by the funeral pyre. What to do? Commit myself to covering darkness, and fear audacious hands on my members?

Yet if I were to ignore her message from fear, her weeping would be worse than an enemy in the night. The Moon helps him on his way; the stars light the ruts; Love shakes the blazing torch up ahead; raging wild dogs avert their gaping jaws. But if I knew my certain death followed the event, perhaps such a fate would be worth more to me. Now, O Bacchus , I prostrate myself humbly in front of your altars: father, give me tranquillity: prosper my passage.

Lovers are joined by you, by you set free. Bacchus wash this trouble from my soul. That you also are not innocent of love, Ariadne bears witness, drawn through the sky, by lynxes of yours, to the stars. This disease that has kept the flame in my bones from of old, the funeral pyre or your wine will heal. A sober night is always a torment for lonely lovers, and hope and fear strain their spirits this way and that. Your white neck burdened with trailing clusters of ivy-berries, Bassareus , a Lydian turban crowns your hair. Your smooth throat will glisten with scented olive oil, and the flowing robe will brush your naked feet.

Dircean Thebes will beat the soft drums, and goat-footed Pans will play on unstopped reeds. Nearby the Great Goddess, Cybele , with turreted crown will clash harsh cymbals in the Idaean dance. The mixing bowl will stand in front of your temple doors, for wine to be poured over your sacrifice from the golden ladle. Only do you set me free from this despotic servitude, and conquer this anxious mind with sleep. He is dead, and his twentieth year is left ruined: such a bright day confined in such a small circle.

Though a cautious man sheathe himself in iron or bronze, death will still drag out his hidden head. You often taunt me with my passion: believe me, it commands you more. The fire in burning corn will sooner be stamped out, the rivers return to the founts where they were born, the Syrtes offer quiet harbour, and savage Cape Malea offer the sailor kind welcome on its shore, than any man be able to restrain your course, or curb the spurs of your impetuous wantonness.

Witness Pasiphae who suffered the disdain of the Cretan bull, and wore the deceptive horns of the wooden cow. Myrrha too is a reproach, on fire for her aged father, buried in the foliage of a new-created tree. Why need I mention Medea , who, in her time as a mother, satisfied her fury by the murder of her children?

Or Clytemnestra through whom the whole House of Mycenean Pelops remains infamous for her adultery? That was the dowry the virgin pledged to his enemy! Nisus , treacherous love opened your city gates. And you, unmarried ones, burn torches of happier omen: the girl clutches the Cretan ship and is dragged away. Still Minos does not sit as a judge in Hell without reason: though he conquered, he was merciful to his foe. Cruel the man who could exchange his girl for wealth! Was all Africa worth as much as those tears?

But you, foolish girl, think idle words are gods. Perhaps he wears out his heart on another passion. Your house is fortunate, if only your lover is true. My first night has come! Grant me the space of a first night: Moon linger longer over our first couch. You also Phoebus , who prolong the fires of summer, shorten the path of your lingering light. First the terms must be laid out, and the pledges sealed, and the contract written for my new love.

Amor with his own seal binds these tokens: the witness, the whirling crown of Ariadne the starry goddess. How many hours must give way to my discourse, before Venus urges sweet battles on us! Let the first omens keep us loyal. For love for my girl grows with constant gazing: love offers itself as its greatest nourishment. Towers of Rome , and you, my friends, farewell, and farewell you too, girl, whatever you meant to me! Either the passage of years, or the long spaces of the deep will heal the wounds in my silent breast: or if I die, fate will crush me, not shameful love: and that day of death will be an honour to me.

And Cybele of Dindymus fashioned from carved tusks; and the path taken by the horses of Dis the rapist? Though the cities of Helle , daughter of Athamas , delight you, perhaps, Tullus, still be moved by my longing. Since our power is established by loyalty as much as weapons: our wrath restrains victorious hands. But no horned snakes slithering on scaly bellies, Italian waters are not seething with strange monsters.

No savage Bacchantes hunt Pentheus through the trees, nor are Greek ships set free by the substitution of a doe. This place gave you birth, Tullus, this is your sweetest home, here is honour to seek, worthy of your people. Here are citizens for your oratory: here is ample hope of offspring, and the fitting love of a future wife.

So, my clever writing-tablets are lost, then, and so many good texts too! They were worn away by my hands former usage, and they required good faith by not being sealed. Moreover without me they knew how to pacify my girls, and how to speak eloquent words without me. Such as they were they stayed faithful always to me, and always produced a good effect. Or did someone else seem lovelier to you? Or did you spread some unkind slander about me? Oh well, now some miser writes his accounts on them, and places them with his dire ledgers!

Whoever gives me them back can have gold: who would keep pieces of wood and not have money? Go boy, and quickly stick these words on some column, and write that your master lives on the Esquiline. I often praised the many beauties combined in you, because love thought you were what you are not. This I confessed, in truth, not compelled by knife or flame, wrecked on Aegean waters.

Behold, my wreathed boats reach harbour, the Syrtes are past, and I cast anchor. I come to my senses now at last, weary of the wild surge, and my wounds are closed and healed. Good Sense , if there is such a goddess, I dedicate myself to your shrine! Jupiter was deaf to all my prayers. I was laughed at among the guests seated for the banquet, and whoever wished was able to gossip about me. Tears have no effect on me: I was ensnared by those wiles: Cynthia you only every wept with guile. I will weep, departing, but insult overcomes tears: you do not allow the yoke to move in harmony.

Now goodbye to the threshold weeping at my words: to the entrance never hurt by my hand in anger. May you long then to tear out white hairs by their roots, ah, when the mirror rebukes you with your wrinkles, and may you in turn, rejected, suffer proud arrogance, and, changed to an old woman, regret what you have done! These are the dread events my pages prophesy for you: learn to fear the fate of your beauty!

Book IV. These golden temples sprang from earthly gods: there was no disgrace in houses made without art: Tarpeian Jupiter thundered from a bare cliff, and Tiber was foreign to our cattle. The Curia that shines up there robed with the purple hem of the Senate, held the Fathers, dressed in animal skins, to its rustic heart. Vesta , poor, delighted in garlanded donkeys, and skinny cattle pulled cheap emblems.

Their raw soldiers did not gleam with threatening armour: they joined in battle naked, with fire-hardened pikes. So were the Titienses , heroic Ramnes , and the Luceres of Solonium , so Romulus drove four white triumphal horses. For certain Bovillae was hardly a suburb of the tiny city, and Gabii was greatly crowded, that now is nothing. And Alba stood, powerful, founded through the omen of a white sow, when it was a long journey from there to Fidenae. Here, Troy , for the best, you sent your exiled household gods. Here, at such auguries, the Trojan vessel sailed!

You win in vain! Wolf of Mars , the best of nurses to our State, what towers have sprung from your milk! Now to try and set out those towers in patriotic verse, ah me, how puny the sound that rises from my mouth! But however thin the streams that flow from my chest, it is all in the service of my country.

Let Ennius crown his verse with a shaggy garland: Bacchus , hold out to me leaves of your ivy, so that my books might make Umbria swell with pride, Umbria fatherland of the Roman Callimachus! Whoever sees the towers of Assisi climbing from the valley, honour those walls according to my genius! Rome , favour me, the work soars up for you: citizens grant me good omens, and let a bird on the right sing at my inception!

I will sing rites and days, and the ancient names of places: my horses need to strain towards that goal. The threads you spin are not from a true distaff. Orops of Babylon , child of Archytas , fathered me, Horos , and my house is descended from Conon as ancestor. My prophecy touched on truth, though unwillingly.

The track of the heavens must be examined, and the path of truth among the stars, and knowledge looked for from the five zones. Nauplius raises his fires by night in vengeance, and Greece sails weighed down by her spoils. Victorious Ajax , son of Oileus , rape, then love, your prophetess, Cassandra , though Minerva forbids her to be stripped of her robe! So much for history: now I turn to your stars: prepare yourself impartially to witness new grief.

Ancient Umbria gave birth to you, at a noble hearth: am I lying? Or has my mouth revealed your country? Where misty Mevania wets the open plain, and the summer waters of the Umbrian lake steam, and the wall towers from the summit of climbing Assisi , that wall made more famous by your genius? Since though many bullocks ploughed your fields, the merciless measuring-rod stole your wealth of land.

But you create elegies, deceptive art: — this is your battlefield — that the rest of the crowd might write by your example. Since whatever victories your labour wins you, one girl will escape your grasp: and though you shake the deeply fixed hook from your mouth, it will do no good: the fishing-spear will spike your jaw. Now whether your ship is tossed about in mid-ocean, or you go unarmed among armed men, or the trembling earth yawns in a gaping chasm: fear the avaricious back of the Crab, eight-footed Cancer.

Learn the native tokens of the god Vertumnus. The first grape changes hue, for me, in darkening bunches, and hairy ears of corn swell with milky grains. Here you see sweet cherries, autumn plums, and mulberries redden through summer days. Here the grafter pays his vows with apple garlands, when the unwilling pear stock has borne fruit. Give me a scythe and tie twists of hay on my forehead: you can swear the grass was cut by my hand. I can bend like a shepherd over his crook, or carry baskets of roses through the dust. Dark-green cucumbers, gourds with swollen bellies, and the cabbages tied with light rushes mark me out: no flower of the field grows that is not placed on my brow, and fittingly droops before me.

Because the single shape became vertebar all, my native tongue from that gave me my name. I saw the broken ranks, the abandoned weapons, and the enemy turn their backs in shameful flight. Six lines are to be added: you, who hurry to answer bail, I will not delay you: this is the last mark on the way. I was a maple stock, cut by a swift sickle: before Numa , I was a humble god in a grateful city. But, Mamurius , creator of my statue in bronze, may the rough earth never spoil your skilful hands, that were able to cast me for such peaceful use.

The work is alone, but the honour the work is given is not. Still, if any part you wish to read is smeared, that blot will have been made by my tears: or if any letter puzzles you by its wavering outline, it will be the sign of my now fading hand. A moment ago Bactra saw you in the east again, now the Neuric enemy with armoured horses, the wintry Getae and Britain with its painted chariots, and the dark-skinned Indians pounded by the eastern waves. Was this the marriage oath and the night sealed with kisses, when, an innocent, I yielded to the urgency of your conquering arms?

The ill-omened torch, carried before me by those who led, drew its dark light from a ruined pyre: and I was sprinkled with Stygian waters, and the headband was not set right among my hair: the god of marriage was not my friend. Oh, my harmful vows hang from every gate: and this is the fourth cloak I weave for your camp.

Let him perish who tore a stake from an innocent tree, and made mournful trumpets from shrill horns, he is more worthy than Ocnus to lean on, and twist the rope, and feed your hunger, mule, to eternity! Tell me, does the breastplate cut your tender shoulders? Does the heavy spear chafe your unwarlike hands? They say your face is lean and drawn: but I pray that pallor is from desire for me. While I, when evening leads on the bitter night, kiss the weapons you have left behind. Fortunate Hippolyte! With naked breasts she carried weapons, and barbarously hid her soft hair under a helmet.

If only the Roman camps were open to women! I would have been a loyal burden for your campaign. Scythian hills would not hinder me when the mighty god turns the waters to ice with deeper cold. Every love is powerful, but greater in an acknowledged partner: this fire Venus herself fans into life. Why then should robes of Phoenician purple gleam for me now, or clear crystals decorate my fingers?

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The whimpering of the little puppy Craugis is dear to me: she is the only one to claim your share of the bed. I roof over the shrines with flowers, cover the crossroads with sacred branches, and the Sabine herb crackles on ancient altars. Tatius encircled this hill with a maple-wood palisade, and ringed his camp securely with mounds of earth.

The hills were walls: where the Curia is hedged in, the war-horse drank from the self-same spring. There was a pleasant grove hidden in an ivied hollow and many a tree filled the native streams with rustling. Here Tarpeia drew water for the Goddess: and the jar of earthenware burdened her head. And could one death be sufficient for that wicked girl, who wanted to betray your flames, Vesta? She saw Tatius practising manoeuvres on the sandy plain, and lifting his ornate spear among the yellow crests.

She often feigned that the innocent moon was ominous, and said she must wash her hair in the stream. And sitting on that Tarpeian Hill of hers, she sobbed out, from there, her wound that nearby Jupiter would not forgive:. Hills of Rome , and Rome that crowns the hills, and Vesta shamed by my wickedness, farewell! That horse, will carry my passions to his camp, whose mane is dressed to the right, by Tatius himself!

So rumour says, tomorrow, there will be a purging of the whole city: you must seize the dew-wet spine of the thorny hill. The whole track is slippery and treacherous: since it always hides silent water on its deceptive path. O if only I knew the incantations of the magical Muse! Then my tongue would have brought help to my lovely man.

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The ornate robe is worthy of you, not him without honour of a mother, nourished by the harsh teats of a brutal she-wolf. Stranger, as your queen, shall I give birth so in your palace! Rome betrayed comes with me, no poor gift to you. If not, so that the raped Sabine women are not un-avenged, rape me, and choosing one after the others repay in kind! I can separate the warring armies: you brides, strike a peace treaty my wedding-robe intervening.

Hymenaeus add your measure: trumpeter cease your wild sounds: believe me my bed will soften your warfare. Now the fourth bugle-call sings out the coming of day, and the stars themselves fall slipping into the Ocean. I will try to sleep, I will search out dreams of you: let your kind shadow come before my eyes.

She spoke, and let her arms fall in uneasy sleep, not knowing alas that she had lain down among fresh frenzies. She ran, like a Thracian by swift Thermodon , tearing at her clothes, with naked breasts. Romulus decreed that the watch should be free to rest, and the camp be silent, the trumpets cease. Tarpeia determined this was her chance, and met with the enemy: she struck a deal, she herself to be a partner to that deal.

The hill was difficult to climb, but unguarded due to the feast: suddenly he struck down with his sword the dogs that were liable to bark. All displayed sleep: but Jupiter alone resolved to keep watch to your ruin. This was your dowry, virgin, fitting for your services. O, watcher, unjustly you win a reward from fate. Earth cover your grave with thorns, Procuress, and let your shadow feel what you do not wish for, thirst: and may your ghost not rest among your ashes, and vengeful Cerberus terrorise your shameful bones with famished howling!

Clever at winning even adamant Hippolytus to love, and always darkest omen to a peaceful bed, she could even force Penelope to be indifferent to rumours of her husband, and wed with lascivious Antinous. If she wishes it, the magnet will be unable to attract iron, and the bird will play the stepmother to her nestlings. She dared to set rules for the spellbound moon, and disguise her shape as a nocturnal wolf, so that by art she could blind watching husbands, and tear out the innocent eyes of crows with her nails, and considered with owls concerning my blood, and for me collected the fluids produced by a pregnant mare.

Pretending to have a husband raises the price: employ excuses! Always have fresh bite-marks on your neck, that he might think were given in the to and fro of love-quarrels. Alter your style for the man: if he boasts of his singing, go along with him, and join in with your tipsy words.

Let your doorman look out for the bringers of gifts: if they knock empty-handed, let him sleep on, with the bolt slid home. Consider the gold, and not the hand that offers the gold! Though you listen to poems what will you get but words? I have seen the budding roses of fragrant Paestum left scorched at dawn by the South Wind. But, Venus O Queen, accept a ring-dove as an offering, its neck cut before your altars. For the funeral there were stolen bindings for her scant hair, and a turban faded from lying in the dirt, and a dog, ever wakeful to my distress, when I was to slip the bolt with secretive fingers.

Whoever loves strike at this grave with rough stones, and mingled with the stones add your curses! The priest makes the sacrifice: let silence aid the sacrifice, and let the heifer fall, struck down before my altars. Give me soft costmary, and offerings of lovely incense, and let the loop of wool go three times round the fire. Sprinkle me with water, and by the new altars let the ivory flute sing of Phrygian jars. Muse , we will speak of the Temple of Palatine Apollo : Calliope , the subject is worthy of your favour.

Do not fear that their ships are winged with a hundred oars: their fleet rides an unwilling sea.

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The moment has come, commit your fleet: I declare the moment: I lead the Julian prows with laurelled hand. Triton honoured it with music, and all the goddesses of the sea applauded, as they circled the standards of freedom. The best thing, by all the gods! What sort of a triumph would one woman make in the streets where Jugurtha was once led! So Apollo of Actium gained his temple, each of whose arrows destroyed ten ships. I have sung of war enough: Apollo the victor now demands my lyre, and sheds his weapons for the dance of peace. Now let guests in white robes enter the gentle grove: and let lovely roses flow round my neck.

Let wine, from Falernian wine presses, be poured, and Cilician saffron three times bathe my hair. Let the Muse fire the mind of drunken poets: Bacchus you are used to being an inspiration to your Apollo. Let one tell of the slavery of the Sycambri of the marshes, another sing the dark-skinned kingdoms of Cephean Meroe , another record how the Parthians lately acknowledged defeat with a truce. Crassus , be glad, if you know of it, among the dark dunes: we can cross the Euphrates to your grave.

So I will pass the night with drinking, so with song, until daylight shines its rays into my wine. There are Spirits, of a kind: death does not end it all, and the pale ghost escapes the ruined pyre. She sighed living breath, and speech, but her brittle hands rattled their finger-bones. Are the tricks of sleepless Subura now forgotten, and my windowsill, worn by nocturnal guile? From which I so often hung on a rope let down to you, and came to your shoulders, hand over hand.

Often we made love at the crossroads, and, breast to breast, our cloaks made the roadways warm. Alas for the silent pact whose false words the uncaring South-West Wind has swept away! No watchman shook his split reeds for me: and, jostled, a broken tile cut my face. Who, at the end, saw you , bowed at my graveside, who saw your funeral robe hot with tears? If you disliked to go beyond the gate, you could have ordered that my bier travelled there more slowly. Was it indeed such an effort to scatter cheap hyacinths, or honour my tomb with a shattered jar?

Let Lygdamus be branded, let the iron be white-hot for the slave of the house: I knew him when I drank the pale and doctored wine. And crafty Nomas , let her destroy her secret poisons: the burning potsherd will reveal her guilty hands. She who was open to the common gaze, through worthless nights, now leaves the track of a golden hem on the ground: and, if a talkative girl speaks of my beauty unjustly, repays it with heavier spinning tasks. Old Petale is chained to a foul block of wood, for carrying garlands to my tomb: Lalage is whipped, hung by her entwined hair, since she dared to make a request in my name.

You allowed the woman to melt down my golden image, so she might have her dowry from my blazing pyre. I swear by the incantation of the Fates , that no one may revoke, so may three-headed Cerberus bark gently for me, that I have been faithful. If I am lying, may vipers hiss on my mound, and lie coiled above my bones. There are two places assigned beyond the foul stream, and the whole crowd of the dead row on opposing waters.

Hypermestre tells how her sisters were so daring, her mind incapable of committing such a crime. So with the tears of death we heal the desires of life: I conceal the many crimes of your unfaithfulness. And burn whatever verses you made about my name: cease to sing my praises.

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By night we suffer wandering, night frees the imprisoned spirits, and, his cage abandoned, Cerberus himself strays. After she had ended, in complaint, her quarrel with me, her shadow slipped from my embrace. He seizes the tit-bits the virgins offer: the basket itself trembles in their hands. My Cynthia was carried there, by clipped horses. Juno was the pretext, but Venus was more likely. Appian Way , tell, I beg you, of how she drove in triumph, with you as witness, her wheels shooting past over your stones.

She was a sight, sitting there, hanging over the end of the shaft, daring to loose the reins over foul places. Since harm so often befell our couch, I decided to change my bed by moving camp. There is a certain Phyllis , living near Aventine Diana. Teia is another, among the groves of Tarpeia , lovely, but full of wine, one man is not enough. I decided to call on them to lighten the night-time, and refresh my amours with untried intrigue. There was a couch for three on a private lawn.

Do you want to know how we lay? I was between the two. Lygdamus was cup-bearer, and there was a set of summer glassware, and Greek wine that tasted Methymnian. Nile , the flute-player was yours, Phyllis was castanet dancer, and artless elegant roses were appropriately scattered. Magnus the dwarf himself, tiny in limb, waved his stunted hands around to the boxwood flute.

The lamps flames flickered though the lamps were full, and the table sloped sideways on its legs. And I looked to throw Venus on the lucky dice, but the wretched Dogs always leapt out at me. They sang, I was deaf: bared their breasts, I was blind. When suddenly the doors creaked aloud on their hinges, and a low murmur sounded from the entrance by the Lares. Immediately Cynthia flung back the folding screens, with hair undone, but furiously fine. I dropped the glass from between loosened fingers, and my lips paled though they were slack with wine. Her eyes flashed lightning, and how the woman raged, a sight no less terrible than the sacking of a city.

She thrust her angry nails at Phyllis: Teia cried out in terror to the neighbouring waters. The raised torches disturbed the sleeping citizens, and the whole street echoed with midnight madness. The first tavern in a dark street swallowed the girls, with loose dresses and dishevelled hair. Cynthia exulted in the spoils, and ran back victorious to strike my face with perverse hands, put her mark on my neck, drew blood with her mouth, and most of all struck my eyes that deserved it.

And then when her arms were tired with plaguing me, she rooted out Lygdamus lying sheltered by the left-hand couch, and, dragged forward, he begged my spirit to protect him. Then with fire she purified wherever the alien girls had touched, and washed the threshold with pure water. She ordered me to change all my clothes again, and touched my head three times with burning sulphur, and so I responded by changing the bed, every single sheet, and on the familiar couch we resolved our quarrel. But they were still not safe there, Cacus proving a treacherous host: he dishonoured Jupiter by thieving.

Cacus live there robbing from his dreaded cavern, he who gave out separate sound from triple mouths. So there would be no obvious sign of the certain theft, he dragged the cattle backwards to his cave. Not without the god witnessing it: the bulls roared their fury, fury and rage broke down the savage doors. Wreaths of purple veiled its solitary threshold, and a ruined hut was lit by perfumed fires. A poplar with spreading foliage adorned the shrine, and its dense shadows hid singing birds. I stray, in need of a spring, the sound of waters round me, and a handful caught up from the stream would be enough.

Have you not heard of one who carried the globe on his back? I am he: the world I accepted calls me Alcides. Accept me here: weary, this land is scarcely open to me. Even if you sacrificed to Juno , bitter against me, she herself would not have shut her waters from me. My shaggy chest was caught in a soft breast-band, and I was fit to be a hard-handed girl. The altar that is guarded in this secluded hut is prohibited to men, and avenged by fearsome law. But none of those other players has been watched from so young an age, and with such expectations, by coaches, journalists, sponsors—the entirety of tennis—as Coco Gauff has been.

In this way, too, she is remarkably similar to Venus and Serena. She hits it with a fully open stance, the racquet brought straight back and low, the power coming not from stepping into the ball but from torquing her broad shoulders and strong core. In the fifth game, with Williams serving at 30—all, she missed two backhands and was broken.

Ten minutes later, she drove a backhand into the net, and the first set went to Gauff. The two exchanged breaks in the middle of the second set, with Gauff giving her break back with two double faults to even things at 4—4. Gauff broke Williams on the point that followed, and then held serve to close out the match, largely on the strength of two fearless second serves, both of which topped a hundred miles per hour.

Second serves at that speed. From a fifteen -year-old. Those serves, their speed and their daring, were pure Williams. Gauff can hit her forehand flat or loopy with topspin; she can mix in a drop shot; she can swing all-or-nothing or patiently construct a point; increasingly, she can slice her backhand, if she wants, rather than coming over the ball with two hands.

And, if Gauff keeps developing, as she is expected to do, and she stays injury-free, which is always an issue in tennis, she is likely to be, among many other things, a thriving reminder of just how great and consequential Venus and Serena have been. The social-media personality covers the next generation of N. Recommended Stories.

Old Venus (Old, Book 1) Old Venus (Old, Book 1)
Old Venus (Old, Book 1) Old Venus (Old, Book 1)
Old Venus (Old, Book 1) Old Venus (Old, Book 1)
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