Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus) trans. Colin Sydenham
Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa
perfusus liquidis urget odoribus
grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?
cul flauam religas comam,

simplex munditiis? Heu quotiens fidem
mutatosque deos flebit et aspera
nigris aequora uentis
emirabitur insolens,

qui nunc te fruitur credulus aurea,
qui semper uacuam, semper amabilem
sperat, nescius aurae
fallacis. Miseri, quibus

intemptata nites. Me tabula sacer
uotiua paries indicat uuida
suspendisse potenti
uestimenta maris deo.
What slender suitor slick with scented oils
cajoles you, Pyrrha, in your pretty lair,
for whom among the roses
you preen your golden hair,

demure and dainty? At your broken vows,
at raging tempests darkening your sea,
he'll often groan, dumbfounded
in his naivety;

for trusting in your sunshine he'll not know
how fickle are your breezes, he'll suppose
your welcome will be cloudless
for ever. Woe to those

you dazzle unsuspecting. As for me,
I've offered (as a votive plaque informs)
my sodden clothes to Neptune,
the master of all storms.

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Trans. copyright © Colin Sydenham 2006

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