What should I say this to be, that the mattresses seem so hard
To me, nor do my covers stay on the bed,
And I have passed the night (how long!) empty from sleep,
And the weary bones of my turning body ache?
For, I think, I should know if I was being tempted by love
Or does it steal in and cleverly do harm by hidden skills?
Thus it will be: the slender arrows stick in the heart,
And savage Love turns the occupied heart.
Do we surrender, or do we inflame the sudden fire by struggling?
Let’s surrender: the burden becomes light which is borne well.
I have seen that fanned flames grow with the movement of a torch
And I have seen when it weakens with no movement;
Oxen, who having been seized refuse the first yoke,
Bear more beatings than those whom the use of the plough pleases;
The wayward horse bruises its mouth on the hard toothed bit:
Whichever adapts to its tools feels the reins less.
Love urges the unwilling more fiercely and much
More ferociously than those who acknowledge that they endure slavery.
Look, I confess, I am your newest plunder, Cupid;
I stretch out my conquered hands to your authority.
There is no need for war: I ask for mercy and peace;
Nor will I be praise to you conquered by arms unarmed.
Bind your hair with myrtle, yoke your mother’s doves;
Your stepfather himself will give you a chariot as he should;
And with the people shouting about your triumph, you will stand in the given
Chariot and you will move the joined birds with skill.
Captive young men and girls will be led:
This procession will be a magnificent triumph for you.
I myself, your new plunder, will have the wound just made
And I will bear my new chains with a captive mind.
Good Sense will be led with hands tied behind his back
And Modesty and whatever is against Love’s camp.
All will fear you, extending their arms to you
The people will sing ‘io triumphe’ with a great voice.
Flatteries and Error and Madness, constantly having followed
The crowd as your supporters, will be your companions.
You overcome both men and gods with these soldiers;
If someone should take away these advantages from you, you will be naked.
Your happy mother will applaud your triumph from the height
Of Olympus and sprinkle the roses laid beside her on your face.
You will go with jewels on your wings, with jewels of various colours
In your hair, golden yourself in your golden chariot.
Then you will also burn not a few, if I know you well;
Then also in passing you will give many wounds.
Your arrows cannot stop, even if you yourself want it;
Your fiery flame injures with a close heat.
Such was Bacchus when the land of the Ganges had been subdued:
You oppressed with birds, he was with tigers.
Therefore since I can be part of your sacred triumph,
As winner refrain from losing your strength on me.
Behold the happy weapons of your kinsman Caesar:
He protects the conquered with the hand he conquered.
esse quid hoc dicam, quod tam mihi dura videntur
strata, neque in lecto pallia nostra sedent,
et vacuus somno noctem, quam longa, peregi,
lassaque versati corporis ossa dolent?
nam, puto, sentirem, si quo temptarer amore –
an subit et tecta callidus arte nocet?
sic erit: haeserunt tenues in corde sagittae,
et possessa ferus pectora versat Amor.
cedimus, an subitum luctando accendimus ignem?
cedamus: leve fit, quod bene fertur, onus.
vidi ego iactatas mota face crescere flammas
et vidi nullo concutiente mori;
verbera plura ferunt quam quos iuvat usus aratri,
detractant prensi dum iuga prima, boves;
asper equus duris contunditur ora lupatis:
frena minus sentit, quisquis ad arma facit.
acrius invitos multoque ferocius urget,
quam qui servitium ferre fatentur, Amor.
en ego, confiteor, tua sum nova praeda, Cupido;
porrigimus victas ad tua iura manus.
nil opus est bello: veniam pacemque rogamus;
nec tibi laus armis victus inermis ero.
necte comam myrto, maternas iunge columbas;
qui deceat, currum vitricus ipse dabit;
inque dato curru, populo clamante triumphum,
stabis et adiunctas arte movebis aves.
ducentur capti iuvenes captaeque puellae:
haec tibi magnificus pompa triumphus erit.
ipse ego, praeda recens, factum modo vulnus habebo
et nova captiva vincula mente feram.
Mens Bona ducetur manibus post terga retortis
et Pudor et castris quidquid Amoris obest.
omnia te metuent, ad te sua bracchia tendens
volgus ‘io’ magna voce ‘triumphe’ canet.
Blanditiae comites tibi erunt Errorque Furorque,
adsidue partes turba secuta tuas.
his tu militibus superas hominesque deosque;
haec tibi si demas commoda, nudus eris.
laeta triumphanti de summo mater Olympo
plaudet et adpositas sparget in ora rosas.
tu pinnas gemma, gemma variante capillos,
ibis in auratis aureus ipse rotis.
tunc quoque non paucos, si te bene novimus, ures;
tunc quoque praeteriens vulnera multa dabis.
non possunt, licet ipse velis, cessare sagittae;
fervida vicino flamma vapore nocet.
talis erat domita Bacchus Gangetide terra:
tu gravis alitibus, tigribus ille fuit.
ergo cum possim sacri pars esse triumphi,
parce tuas in me perdere victor opes.
aspice cognati felicia Caesaris arma:
qua vicit, victos protegit ille manu.