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 gravi numero violentaque bella parabam
edere, materia conveniente modis.
par erat inferior versus; risisse Cupido
dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.
“Quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?
Pieridum vates, non tua turba sumus.
Quid, si praeripiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,
ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?
Quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,
lege pharetratae Virginis arva coli?
crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum
instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?
sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna;
cur opus adfectas, ambitiose, novum?
an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?
vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?
cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,
attenuat nervos proximus ille meos;
nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta,
aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.”
questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta
legit in exitium spicula facta meum,
lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum,
“quod” que “canas, vates, accipe” dixit “opus!”
me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas.
uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.
sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat:
ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis!
cingere litoreā flaventia tempora myrto,
Musa per undenos emodulanda pedes!