Horace (Q. Horatius Flaccus)trans. A. S. Kline
Cum tu, Lydia, Telephi
cervicem roseam, cerea Telephi
laudas bracchia, vae meum
fervens difficili bile tumet iecur.

tum nec mens mihi nec color
certa sede manent, umor et in genas
furtim labitur, arguens
quam lentis penitus macerer ignibus.

uror, seu tibi candidos
turparunt umeros immodicae mero
rixae, sive puer furens
impressit memorem dente labris notam.

non, si me satis audias,
speres perpetuum dulcia barbare
laedentem oscula quae Venus
quinta parte sui nectaris imbuit.

felices ter et amplius
quos irrupta tenet copula nec malis
divulsus querimoniis
suprema citius solvet amor die.
When you, Lydia, start to praise
Telephus’ rosy neck, Telephus’ waxen arms,
alas, my burning passion starts
to mount deep inside me, with troubling anger.

Neither my feelings, nor my hue
stay as they were before, and on my cheek a tear
slides down, secretly, proving how
I’m consumed inwardly with lingering fires.

I burn, whether it’s madhouse
quarrels that have, drunkenly, marked your gleaming
shoulders, or whether the crazed boy
has placed a love-bite, in memory, on your lips.

If you’d just listen to me now,
you’d not bother to hope for constancy from him
who wounds that sweet mouth, savagely,
that Venus has imbued with her own pure nectar.

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Trans. Copyright © A. S. Kline 2003

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