When praising Telephus you sing
His rosy neck and waxen arms,
Forgetful of the pangs that wring
This heart for my neglected charms,
Soft down my cheek the tear-drop flows,
My color comes and goes the while,
And my rebellious liver glows,
And fiercely swells with laboring bile.
Perchance yon silly, passionate youth,
Distempered by the fumes of wine,
Has marred your shoulder with his tooth,
Or scarred those rosy lips of thine.
Be warned; he cannot faithful prove,
Who, with the cruel kiss you prize,
Has hurt the little mouth I love,
Where Venus’s own nectar lies.
Whom golden links unbroken bind,
Thrice happy—more than thrice are they;
And constant, both in heart and mind,
In love await the final day.
TO QUINTIUS HIRPINUS
To Scythian and Cantabrian plots,
Pay them no heed, O Quintius!
So long as we
From care are free,
Vexations cannot cinch us.
Unwrinkled youth and grace, forsooth,
Speed hand in hand together;
The songs we sing
In time of spring
Are hushed in wintry weather.
Why, even flow’rs change with the hours,
And the moon has divers phases;
And shall the mind
Be racked to find
A clew to Fortune’s mazes?
Nay; ’neath this tree let you and me
Woo Bacchus to caress us;
We’re old, ’t is true,
But still we two
Are thoroughbreds, God bless us!
While the wine gets cool in yonder pool,
Let’s spruce up nice and tidy;
Who knows, old boy,
But we may decoy
The fair but furtive Lyde?
She can execute on her ivory lute
Sonatas full of passion,
And she bangs her hair
(Which is passing fair)
In the good old Spartan fashion.
WINE, WOMEN, AND SONG
Plant thou the vine
Within this kindly soil of Tibur;
Nor temporal woes,
Nor spiritual, knows
The man who’s a discreet imbiber.
For who doth croak
Of being broke,
Or who of warfare, after drinking?
With bowl atween us,
Of smiling Venus
And Bacchus shall we sing, I’m thinking.
Of symptoms fell
Which brawls impel,
Historic data give us warning;
The wretch who fights
When full, of nights,
Is bound to have a head next morning.
I do not scorn
A friendly horn,
But noisy toots, I can’t abide ’em!
Your howling bat
Is stale and flat
To one who knows, because he’s tried ’em!