Sulpiciatr. Josephine Balmer
Invisus natalis adest, qui rure molesto
et sine Cerintho tristis agendus erit.
Dulcius urbe quid est? an villa sit apta puellae
atque Arrentino frigidus amnis agro?
Iam nimium Messalla mei studiose, quiescas,
heu tempestivae, saeve propinque, viae!
Hic animum sensusque meos abducta relinquo,
arbitrio quamvis non sinis esse meo.

Scis iter ex animo sublatum triste puellae?
natali Romae iam licet esse suo.
Omnibus ille dies nobis natalis agatur,
qui nec opinanti nunc tibi forte venit.
Hateful birthday, here again, and I must pass a tedious
tearful trip to the country - all without Cerinthus.
For what's more charming than the city? Is a draughty villa
fit for the girl about town? Arno's freezing river?
Too much now, Messalla, you're stifling me - give this girl a rest,
since travel, uncle, does not broaden every mind.
For if my body's carried off, then I'll leave my thoughts behind,
since you won't let me judge what I know - or love - the best.

Have you heard, I've been released? Yes, the weight of that dull journey
has been lifted from your girl, freed from rural humdrum
to celebrate her birthday in Rome; a treat for all which comes
to you by surprise, my love - and with it, of course, me.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © Josephine Balmer 1996 - publ. Bloodaxe Books this book
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