I was preparing to tell about weapons and violent wars in serious
meter, with the subject being suitable for the meter.
The lower line was equal: Cupid is said to have
laughed and to have stolen away one foot.
‘Who gave you, o cruel boy, this of an authority over poetry?
We the holy poets are the crowd of the Muses, not yours.
What would happen, if Venus should seize the arms of blonde Minerva,
if blonde Minerva should fan the lighted torches?
Who would approve that Ceres reign in the mountain forests,
while the fields were tilled under the rule of the maiden with the quiver?
Who would equip Phoebus distinguished with hair with a sharp
spear, while Mars was strumming the Aonian lyre?
You have great, and extremely powerful kingdoms, boy:
Why do you aspire, ambitious one, to a new duty?
Or, is it yours, which is everywhere? Are the Heliconian valleys yours?
Is scarcely even Apollo’s lyre now safe for him?
When a new page has started well with the first line,
that next one humbles my strength.
And I do not have suitable material for lighter rhythms,
either a boy or a girl adorned with long locks.’
I had complained, when forthwith he freed his quiver,
selected arrows which had been made for my destruction
And strongly bent his curving bow on his knee
and he said ‘Take this, bard, as a subject for your work’
Miserable me! That boy has sure arrows:
I am on fire, and Love reigns in my once empty chest.
Let my work rise in six feet, and fall again in five.
Farewell iron wars, with your meter.
Garland your golden brow with myrtle from the sea-shore,
Muse, you must be measured through eleven feet.
arma gravī numerō violentaque bella parābam
ēdere, māteriā conveniente modis.
pār erat inferior versus; risisse Cupīdo
dīcitur atque ūnum surripuisse pedem.
“Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hōc in carmina iūris?
Pīeridum vātēs, nōn tua turba sumus.
Quid, sī praeripiat flāvae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flāva Minerva faces?
Quis probet in silvis Cererem regnāre iugōsis,
lēge pharetrātae Virginis arva coli?
crīnibus insignem quis acūta cuspide Phoebum
īnstruat, Āoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cūr opus adfectas, ambitiōse, novum?
an, quod ubīque, tuum est? tua sunt Helicōnia tempe?
vix etiam Phoebō iam lyra tūta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi māteria est numeris leviōribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.”
questus eram, pharetra cum prōtinus ille solūta
lēgit in exitium spīcula facta meum,
lūnāvitque genū sinuōsum fortiter arcum,
“quod” que “canās, vātēs, accipe” dixit “opus!”
mē miserum! certās habuit puer ille sagittas.
ūror, et in vacuō pectore regnat Amor.
sex mihi surgat opus numerīs, in quinque resīdat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valēte modis!
cingere lītoreā flāventia tempora myrto,
Mūsa per undēnos ēmodulanda pedes!