Though he is fairer than the star that shines so far
Thou lighter than a cork, more stormy than the Adrian Sea,
Still should I long to live with you, to live for you and love you,
And cheerfully see death’s approach if thou wert near to me.
No more your needed rest at night
By ribald youth is troubled;
No more your windows, fastened tight,
Yield to their knocks redoubled.
No longer you may hear them cry,
“Why art thou, Lydia, lying
In heavy sleep till morn is nigh,
While I, your love, am dying?”
Grown old and faded, you bewail
The rake’s insulting sally,
While round your home the Thracian gale
Storms through the lonely alley.
What furious thoughts will fill your breast,
What passions, fierce and tinglish
(Cannot be properly expressed
In calm, reposeful English).
Learn this, and hold your carping tongue:
Youth will be found rejoicing
In ivy green and myrtle young,
The praise of fresh life voicing;
And not content to dedicate,
With much protesting shiver,
The sapless leaves to winter’s mate,
Hebrus, the cold dark river.
The cruel mother of the Loves,
And other Powers offended,
Have stirred my heart, where newly roves
The passion that was ended.
’T is Glycera, to boldness prone,
Whose radiant beauty fires me;
While fairer than the Parian stone
Her dazzling face inspires me.
And on from Cyprus Venus speeds,
Forbidding—ah! the pity—
The Scythian lays, the Parthian meeds,
And such irrelevant ditty.
Here, boys, bring turf and vervain too;
Have bowls of wine adjacent;
And ere our sacrifice is through
She may be more complaisant.
When, Lydia, you (once fond and true,
But now grown cold and supercilious)
Praise Telly’s charms of neck and arms—
Well, by the dog! it makes me bilious!
Then with despite my cheeks wax white,
My doddering brain gets weak and giddy,
My eyes o’erflow with tears which show
That passion melts my vitals, Liddy!
Deny, false jade, your escapade,
And, lo! your wounded shoulders show it!
No manly spark left such a mark—
Leastwise he surely was no poet!
With savage buss did Telephus
Abraid your lips, so plump and mellow;
As you would save what Venus gave,
I charge you shun that awkward fellow!
And now I say thrice happy they
That call on Hymen to requite ’em;
For, though love cools, the wedded fools
Must cleave till death doth disunite ’em.