Sextus Propertiustrans. W.G.Shepherd
Risus eram positis inter convivia mensis,
et de me poterat quilibet esse loquax.
quinque tibi potui servire fideliter annos:
ungue meam morso saepe querere fidem.

nil moveor lacrimis: ista sum captus ab arte;
semper ab insidiis, Cynthia, flere soles.
flebo ego discedens, sed fletum iniuria vincit:
tu bene conveniens non sinis ire iugum.
limina iam nostris valeant lacrimantia verbis,
nec tamen irata ianua fracta manu.

at te celatis aetas gravis urgeat annis,
et veniat formae ruga sinistra tuae!
vellere tum cupias albos a stirpe capillos,
iam speculo rugas increpitante tibi,
exclusa inque vicem fastus patiare superbos,
et quae fecisti facta queraris anus!

has tibi fatalis cecinit mea pagina diras:
eventum formae disce timere tuae!
I was mocked among the tables placed for banquets,
And whoever liked could chatter on - about me.
I was able to serve you faithfully five years:
You'll often bite your nails and grieve for my lost faith.

Tears don't move me a jot: I was captured by that skill:
Your weeping has always been a stratagem, Cynthia.
Iíll weep as I depart - but my wrongs surpass tears:
You don't permit the yoke to ride with mutual ease.
Goodbye the threshold crying with my words,
The door not smashed although my hands were enraged.

But you may heavy age press with the years you hide,
And ominous wrinkles come upon your beauty!
Then may you long to pluck your white hairs by the roots
(Oh!) when the mirror challenges you with your wrinkles:
Shut out in your turn may you put up with arrogant taunts,
And, when old, complain of things youíve done yourself!

My page predicts for you this horrible doom.
Learn to fear the outcome of your beauty.

Trans. Copyright © W.G.Shepherd 1985 - publ. Penguin Books this book
translator's next