ACMEN SEPTIMIUS SUOS
AMORES ...
THE BALLAD OF SEPTIMIUS AND
ACME
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Josephine Balmer
Acmen Septimius suos amores
tenens in gremio 'mea' inquit ' Acme,
ni te perdite amo atque amare porro
omnes sum assidue paratus annos,
quantum qui pote plurimum perire,
solus in Libya Indiaque tosta
caesio ueniam obuius leoni.'
hoc ut dixit, Amor sinistra ut ante
dextra sternuit approbationem.

at Acme leuiter caput reflectens
et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos
illo purpureo ore suauiata,
'sic' inquit 'mea uita Septimille,
huic uni domino usque seruiamus,
ut multo mihi maior acriorque
ignis mollibus ardet in medullis.'
hoc ut dixit, Amor sinistra ut ante
dextra sternuit approbationem.

nunc ab auspicio bono profecti
mutuis animis amant amantur.
unam Septimius misellus Acmen
mauult quam Syrias Britanniasque:
uno in Septimio fidelis Acme
facit delicias libidinisque.
quis ullos homines beatiores
uidit, quis Venerem auspicatiorem?
Septimius sat his love, his Acme,
on his lap: 'Acme,' he told her, 'my dear,
if I don't love you desperately,
now and even more throughout all the years,
as much as most desperate love can own,
then in Libya or sun-scorched India
let me face a green-eyed lion alone.'
So he spoke. And Cupid to show pleasure
on the left (and on the right) sneezed consent.

But Acme, gently bending back her head,
kissed the love-drunk eyes of her own sweet boy
with wine-dark mouth and crimson lips, then said:
'So, my Septimius, my life, my joy,
let's be slaves to Love, by one master owned,
for I have a brighter, more blistering fire
burning through the soft marrow of my bones.'
So she spoke. And Cupid to show pleasure
on the left (and on the right) sneezed consent.

And now they start out with all good omens,
loving and being loved, of same mind set:
for Septimius Acme is the one
he craves, before all Britain, Syria,
in Septimius alone true Acme
takes delight, desire, in equal measure.
Who has ever seen lovers more happy?
Who a love more fortunate, heaven-sent?

Transl. Copyright © Josephine Balmer 2004 - publ. Bloodaxe Books


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