Intermissa, Venus, diu
rursus bella moves? Parce precor, precor.
Non sum qualis eram bonae
sub regno Cinarae. Desine, dulcium
mater saeva Cupidinum,
circa lustra decem flectere mollibus
iam durum imperiis: abi,
quo blandae iuvenum te revocant preces.
Tempestiuius in domum
Pauli purpureis ales oloribus
si torrere iecur quaeris idoneum;
namque et nobilis et decens
et pro sollicitis non tacitus reis
et centum puer artium
late signa feret militiae tuae,
et, quandoque potentior
largi muneribus riserit aemuli,
Albanos prope te lacus
ponet marmoream sub trabe citrea.
Illic plurima naribus
duces tura, lyraque et Berecyntia
mixtis carminibus non sine fistula;
illic bis pueri die
numen cum teneris virginibus tuum
laudantes pede candido
in morem Salium ter quatient humum.
Me nec femina nec puer
iam nec spes animi credula mutui
nec certare iuvat mero
nec vincire novis tempora floribus.
Sed cur heu, Ligurine, cur
manat rara meas lacrima per genas?
Cur facunda parva decoro
inter verba cadit lingua silentio?
Nocturnis ego somniis
iam captum teneo, iam volucrem sequor
te per gramina Martii
campi, te per aquas, dure, volubilis.
--Horace, Carm. IV.1
Venus, after all this time,
are you starting up love within me again?
Cut it out, I beg you!
I’m not the same person I was
Under beautiful Cinara’s thumb.
Cruel mother of sweet desires,
I'm fifty years old! Stop pestering
A man who holds up under your enticing sway:
Begone! Go instead to where the sweet youths call you in supplication.
If you’re looking for a perfect victim to sacrifice to love,
It’s be better for you
To flit yourself down to Paulus Maximus’ home
Gliding on the wings of your mauve swans.*
He’s the perfect candidate:
He’s a gentleman and proper, very active in court,
A true jack of all trades.
He will be your standard bearer
And he’ll give you a charming smile
When he beats the competition;
He’ll dedicate a marble statue of you
In a nifty shrine
Beside the Alban lake.
Your delicate nostrils
Will catch the scent of incense from him often;
You’ll be delighted by the music dedicated to you there.
Twice a day, young men, hand in hand with tender young ladies
Will celebrate your divinity;
stomping the ground three times with their delicate feet
the way that Salian dancers dance.
Neither a girlfriend
Or a boyfriend
Can tempt me now,
Nor does the hope of a mutual affection thrill me.
I’m no longer in the mood for heavy drinking
I’m too old to put springtime flowers on this old forehead of mine.
But why, Ligurinus, --tell me why
I’m crying right now?
Why is my tongue tied suddenly?
in my dreams, I hold you next to me
I follow you through the fields of Mars
I follow you through the waters,
As you fly from me, you cruel bird.
* Horace is using imagery found in Sappho fr.1 (Aphrodite travelling by a swan-led chariot)
Name: Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Date: 65 BCE – 8 BCE
The Latin poet Horace is known for his famous line, “Carpe Diem.” He was an Italian-born poet who lived during the rise and reign of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. Although his life began with civil unrest and uncertainty (his father was enslaved and later freed during the civil wars of the 1st century BCE), Horace became friends with the influential entrepreneur Maecenas and earned the position in Augustus’ literary circle. His poetry provides valuable insight into the so-called “Golden Age” of Augustan literature.
GOLDEN AGE ROME