Place my hands in cords (they have deserved chains),
While [my] madness passes all, if any friend is here.
For my madness has provoked my rash arms against my mistress;
My girl weeps, hurt by my maddened hand.
Then I could have done violence to my beloved parents
Or struck the holy gods with cruel blows.
Well? Did not Ajax, master of the sevenfold shield,
Capture the flocks in the broad meadows and slaughter them,
And [did not] Orestes, defender of his father against his mother (unfortunate avenger),
Dare to ask for weapons against the hidden goddesses?
Was I really able, therefore, to tear that carefully-arranged hair?
The disturbance of her locks/hair was not unbecoming to my mistress:
Thus she was beautiful; I would say that such was the daughter of Schoeneus,
As with her bow, she pursued the wild beasts of Maenalus;
Such was the Cretan princess as she cried that the headlong South-Wind
Had carried off both the promises and sails of false Theseus;
Thus was Cassandra, except that she was wearing a garland on her hair,
She fell down at your temple, chaste Minerva.
Who has not said to me ‘foolish’, who has not said to me ‘barbarian’?
She herself [says] nothing: her tongue is held back with terrified fear.
But her silent expressions, however, made reproaches;
She made me the guilty party with tears from her silent face.
I wish my arm muscles to have fallen from my shoulders before now;
I could have been profitably lacking that part of me:
I used my maddening strength in my madness
And bravely was strong to my own punishment.
What do I have to do with you, agents of slaughter and wickedness?
My profane hands, endure deserved bonds.
Or, if I had hit the least citizen of the plebs,
I should have been beaten; will my right over my mistress be greater?
The son of Tydeus left a hideous memorial of his crimes:
He was the first to strike down a goddess; I the second.
And he was less culpable: [the girl] whom I declared my love to
Was hurt; Tydeus’ son was fierce towards an enemy.
Now go, conqueror, prepare your magnificent triumphs,
Circle [your] hair with laurel and fulfil [your] vows to Jupiter,
And let the crowd of followers who accompany your chariot
Shout “By Jupiter! [Our] brave victor has conquered a girl!”
Let her go before you, sad victim with dishevelled hair,
Completely white - if her bruised cheeks allowed it.
Better it would have for her neck to be discoloured by bruises from the imprint
Of my lips and to bear the mark of my amorous teeth.
In short, if I was carried off like a swollen torrent
And blind anger had made me its prey,
Surely it would have been enough to have shouted at the fearful girl
And to have thundered threats that were not too harsh
Or to rip apart her tunic – to degrade her – from its top edge
To the middle (her belt would have come to the rescue at the middle)?
But indeed I allowed myself to tear hair from her forehead
And brand her tender cheeks with my nail [like] an iron-[hearted thug].
She stood there distraught, her face white and bloodless,
Like the marble hewn from the hills of Paros;
I saw her lifeless limbs and trembling frame,
Just as when the soft breeze fans the foliage of the poplar,
As the slender reed is rustled by the gentle West Wind
Or the surface of the water ruffled by the warm South Wind;
And tears, long kept in suspense, streamed from her face,
As water springs from a pile of snow.
Then for the first time I began to feel myself guilty;
The tears were my own blood, which she was shedding.
Yet three times I tried to sink down before her feet and make humble entreaties;
Three times she thrust aside the hands she dreaded.
But (since vengeance will lessen anguish) do not hesitate
To immediately fly at my face with your nails;
Spare neither my eyes nor my hair:
Anger favours hands, however weak.
Verily, so that such sad signs of my crime may not survive,
Braid your hair and put it back in position.
adde manus in vincla meas (meruere catenas),
dum furor omnis abit, siquis amicus ades:
nam furor in dominam temeraria bracchia movit;
flet mea vaesana laesa puella manu.
tunc ego vel caros potui violare parentes
saeva vel in sanctos verbera ferre deos.
quid? non et clipei dominus septemplicis Aiax
stravit deprensos lata per arva greges,
et, vindex in matre patris, malus ultor, Orestes
ausus in arcanas poscere tela deas?
ergo ego digestos potui laniare capillos?
nec dominam motae dedecuere comae:
sic formosa fuit. talem Schoeneida dicam
Maenalias arcu sollicitasse feras;
talis periuri promissaque velaque Thesei
flevit praecipites Cressa tulisse Notos;
sic, nisi vittatis quod erat Cassandra capillis,
procubuit templo, casta Minerva, tuo.
quis mihi non 'demens', quis non mihi 'barbare' dixit?
ipsa nihil; pavido est lingua retenta metu.
sed taciti fecere tamen convicia vultus;
egit me lacrimis ore silente reum.
ante meos umeris vellem cecidisse lacertos;
utiliter potui parte carere mei:
in mea vaesanas habui dispendia vires
et valui poenam fortis in ipse meam.
quid mihi vobiscum, caedis scelerumque ministrae?
debita sacrilegae vincla subite manus.
an, si pulsassem minimum de plebe Quiritem,
plecterer, in dominam ius mihi maius erit?
pessima Tydides scelerum monimenta reliquit:
ille deam primus perculit; alter ego.
et minus ille nocens. mihi, quam profitebar amare
laesa est; Tydides saevus in hoste fuit.
i nunc, magnificos victor molire triumphos,
cinge comam lauro votaque redde Iovi,
quaeque tuos currus comitantum turba sequetur,
clamet 'io! forti victa puella viro est!'
ante eat effuso tristis captiva capillo,
si sinerent laesae, candida tota, genae.
aptius impressis fuerat livere labellis
et collum blandi dentis habere notam.
denique, si tumidi ritu torrentis agebar
caecaque me praedam fecerat ira suam,
nonne satis fuerat timidae inclamasse puellae
nec nimium rigidas intonuisse minas
aut tunicam a summa diducere turpiter ora
ad mediam (mediae zona tulisset opem)?
at nunc sustinui raptis a fronte capillis
ferreus ingenuas ungue notare genas.
adstitit illa amens albo et sine sanguine vultu,
caeduntur Pariis qualia saxa iugis;
exanimis artus et membra trementia vidi,
ut cum populeas ventilat aura comas,
ut leni Zephyro gracilis vibratur harundo
summave cum tepido stringitur unda Noto;
suspensaeque diu lacrimae fluxere per ora,
qualiter abiecta de nive manat aqua.
tunc ego me primum coepi sentire nocentem;
sanguis erant lacrimae, quas dabat illa, meus.
ter tamen ante pedes volui procumbere supplex;
ter formidatas reppulit illa manus.
at tu ne dubita (minuet vindicta dolorem)
protinus in vultus unguibus ire meos;
nec nostris oculis nec nostris parce capillis:
quamlibet infirmas adiuvat ira manus.
neve mei sceleris tam tristia signa supersint,
pone recompositas in statione comas.