On thirsty Apulia ne’er has the sun
Inflicted such terrible heat;
As for Hercules’ robe, although poisoned, ’t was fun
When compared with this garlic we eat!
Maecenas, if ever on garbage like this
You express a desire to be fed,
May Mrs. Maecenas object to your kiss,
And lie at the foot of the bed!
To bear the yoke not yet your love’s submissive
neck is bent,
To share a husband’s toil, or grasp his amorous intent;
Over the fields, in cooling streams, the heifer longs to go,
Now with the calves disporting where the pussy-willows grow.
Give up your thirst for unripe grapes, and, trust
me, you shall learn
How quickly in the autumn time to purple they will turn.
Soon she will follow you, for age steals swiftly on the maid;
And all the precious years that you have lost she will have paid.
Soon she will seek a lord, beloved as Pholoe, the
Or Chloris, or young Gyges, that deceitful, girlish boy,
Whom, if you placed among the girls, and loosed his flowing locks,
The wondering guests could not decide which one decorum shocks.
Lyce, the gods have heard my prayers, as gods will
hear the dutiful,
And brought old age upon you, though you still affect the beautiful.
You sport among the boys, and drink and chatter on quite aimlessly;
And in your cups with quavering voice you torment Cupid shamelessly.
For blooming Chia, Cupid has a feeling more than brotherly;
He knows a handsaw from a hawk whenever winds are southerly.
He pats her pretty cheeks, but looks on you as a monstrosity;
Your wrinkles and your yellow teeth excite his animosity.
For jewels bright and purple Coan robes you are not
Unhappily for you, the public records are accessible.
Where is your charm, and where your bloom and gait so firm and sensible,
That drew my love from Cinara,—a lapse most indefensible?
To my poor Cinara in youth Death came with great celerity;
Egad, that never can be said of you with any verity!
The old crow that you are, the teasing boys will jeer, compelling you
To roost at home. Reflect, all this is straight that I am telling you.
See, Thaliarch mine, how, white with snow,
Soracte mocks the sullen sky;
How, groaning loud, the woods are bowed,
And chained with frost the rivers lie.
Pile, pile the logs upon the hearth;
We’ll melt away the envious cold:
And, better yet, sweet friend, we’ll wet
Our whistles with some four-year-old.
Commit all else unto the gods,
Who, when it pleaseth them, shall bring
To fretful deeps and wooded steeps
The mild, persuasive grace of Spring.