Elegia septima, Anno ætatis undevigesimo.

Nondum blanda tuas leges Amathusia norâm,
Et Paphio vacuum pectus ab igne fuit.

Sæpe cupidineas, puerilia tela, sagittas,
Atque tuum sprevi maxime, numen, Amor.

Tu puer imbelles dixi transfige columbas, [ 5 ]
Conveniunt tenero mollia bella duci.

Aut de passeribus tumidos age, parve, triumphos,
Hæc sunt militiæ digna trophæa tuæ.

In genus humanum quid inania dirigis arma?
Non valet in fortes ista pharetra viros. [ 10 ]

Non tulit hoc Cyprius, (neque enim Deus ullus ad iras
Promptior) & duplici jam ferus igne calet.

Ver erat, & summæ radians per culmina villæ
Attulerat primam lux tibi Maie diem:

At mihi adhuc refugam quærebant lumina noctem [ 15 ]
Nec matutinum sustinuere jubar.

Astat Amor lecto, pictis Amor impiger alis,
Prodidit astantem mota pharetra Deum:

Prodidit & facies, & dulce minantis ocelli,
Et quicquid puero, dignum & Amore fuit. [ 20 ]

Talis in æterno juvenis Sigeius Olympo
Miscet amatori pocula plena Jovi;

Aut qui formosas pellexit ad oscula nymphas
Thiodamantæus Naiade raptus Hylas;

Addideratque iras, sed & has decuisse putares, [ 25 ]
Addideratque truces, nec sine felle minas.

Et miser exemplo sapuisses tutiùs, inquit,
Nunc mea quid possit dextera testis eris.

Inter & expertos vires numerabere nostras,
Et faciam vero per tua damna fidem. [ 30 ]

Ipse ego si nescis strato Pythone superbum
Edomui Phœbum, cessit & ille mihi;

Et quoties meminit Peneidos, ipse fatetur
Certiùs & graviùs tela nocere mea.

Me nequit adductum curvare peritiùs arcum, [ 35 ]
Qui post terga solet vincere Parthus eques.

Cydoniusque mihi cedit venator, & ille
Inscius uxori qui necis author erat.

Est etiam nobis ingens quoque victus Orion,
Herculeæque manus, Herculeusque comes. [ 40 ]

Jupiter ipse licet sua fulmina torqueat in me,
Hærebunt lateri spicula nostra Jovis.

Cætera quæ dubitas meliùs mea tela docebunt,
Et tua non leviter corda petenda mihi.

Nec te stulte tuæ poterunt defendere Musæ, [ 45 ]
Nec tibi Phœbæus porriget anguis opem.

Dixit, & aurato quatiens mucrone sagittam,
Evolat in tepidos Cypridos ille sinus.

At mihi risuro tonuit ferus ore minaci,
Et mihi de puero non metus ullus erat. [ 50 ]

Et modò quà nostri spatiantur in urbe Quirites
Et modò villarum proxima rura placent.

Turba frequens, faciéque simillima turba dearum
Splendida per medias itque reditque vias.

Auctaque luce dies gemino fulgore coruscat, [ 55 ]
Fallor? an & radios hinc quoque Phœbus habet.

Hæc ego non fugi spectacula grata severus,
Impetus & quò me fert juvenilis, agor.

Lumina luminibus malè providus obvia misi,
Neve oculos potui continuisse meos. [ 60 ]

Unam forte aliis supereminuisse notabam,
Principium nostri lux erat illa mali.

Sic Venus optaret mortalibus ipsa videri,
Sic regina Deûm conspicienda fuit.

Hanc memor objecit nobis malus ille Cupido, [ 65 ]
Solus & hos nobis texuit antè dolos.

Nec procul ipse vafer latuit, multæque sagittæ
Et facis a tergo grande pependit onus.

Nec mora, nunc ciliis hæsit, nunc virginis ori,
Insilit hinc labiis, insidet inde genis: [ 70 ]

Et quascunque agilis partes jaculator oberrat,
Hei mihi, mille locis pectus inerme ferit.

Protinus insoliti subierunt corda furores,
Uror amans intùs, flammaque totus eram.

Interea misero quæ jam mihi sola placebat, [ 75 ]
Ablata est oculis non reditura meis.

Ast ego progredior tacitè querebundus, & excors,
Et dubius volui sæpe referre pedem.

Findor, & hæc remanet, sequitur pars altera votum,
Raptaque tàm subitò gaudia flere juvat. [ 80 ]

Sic dolet amissum proles Junonia cœlum,
Inter Lemniacos præcipitata focos.

Talis & abreptum solem respexit, ad Orcum
Vectus ab attonitis Amphiaraus equis.

Quid faciam infelix, & luctu victus, amores [ 85 ]
Nec licet inceptos ponere, neve sequi.

O utinam spectare semel mihi detur amatos
Vultus, & coràm tristia verba loqui;

Forsitan & duro non est adamante creata,
Forte nec ad nostras surdeat illa preces. [ 90 ]

Crede mihi nullus sic infeliciter arsit,
Ponar in exemplo primus & unus ego.

Parce precor teneri cum sis Deus ales amoris,
Pugnent officio nec tua facta tuo.

Jam tuus O certè est mihi formidabilis arcus, [ 95 ]
Nate deâ, jaculis nec minus igne potens:

Et tua fumabunt nostris altaria donis,
Solus & in superis tu mihi summus eris.

Deme meos tandem, verùm nec deme furores,
Nescio cur, miser est suaviter omnis amans: [ 100 ]

Tu modo da facilis, posthæc mea siqua futura est,
Cuspis amaturos figat ut una duos.

The Seventh Elegy. At the Age of 19

Not yet, O genial Amathusia, had I learned your laws, and my heart was still void of the Paphian fire. Often I scorned Cupid's arrows as childish weapons, and most of all made light of your divinity, O Love.

"Go boy," said I, "and shoot timid doves, for only easy battles become a tender warrior; or win swelling triumphs, little one, over sparrows; these are martial trophies worthy of your valor. Why direct vain arms against mankind? That quiver of yours has no power against strong men."

This the Cyprian boy could not endure — for no god is more prompt to wrath than he — and fiercely he burned with double fire.

It was spring, and the light streaming over the topmost roofs of the village had ushered in the first of May; but my eyes still sought the retreating night, nor could they endure the brightness of morning. Suddenly Love stood by my bed, never-wearied Love in painted wings. The swinging quiver betrayed the god where he stood; his face, his sweetly threatening eyes, and whatever else becomes a boy, and Love, betrayed him. Thus the Sigeian youth appears as on eternal Olympus he mixes brimming cups for amorous Jove; or Hylas, son of Theodamas, who, snatched away by a Naiad, enticed the beautiful nymphs to his kisses. He had assumed a wrathful countenance, but you would have thought that it became him; and he uttered harsh threats full of bitterness.

"Wretch," said he, "it had been better for you to learn from the example of others; but now you shall be testimony of what my right hand can do; you shall be numbered among those who have felt my powers, and by your sufferings I shall win the faith of men. I, even I, if you know it not, overcame Phoebus, haughty after his conquest of the serpent Python; to me even he did yield. As oft as he remembers Peneus's daughter, he confesses that my darts inflict surer and deadlier wounds than his own. The Parthian horseman who conquers as he flees can draw the bow no more skilfully than I. The Cydonian hunter yields to me, and he who unwittingly was the author of his own wife's death. Huge Orion too I conquered, and the hand of Heracles, and Heracles's friend. Jupiter himself may turn his bolts against me, but my arrows will pierce his side. Whatever doubts you still may have, my darts will resolve more surely than my words; and not lightly shall I seek your heart. Neither can your Muses defend you, foolish one, nor will the serpent of Apollo offer you aid."

Thus he spoke, and, shaking his gold-pointed arrow, flew away to the warm bosom of his Cyprian mother. But I almost laughed at these blustering threats, and had no fear of the boy. I took my pleasures, now in those parts of the city where our citizens walk, and now in the villages of the surrounding country. A great crowd of girls that seemed like a radiant troop of goddesses came and went along the walks; the day brightened with a double splendor. Am I deceived, or does Phoebus too find here his rays? I did not turn austerely from the pleasing sights, but was borne on where youthful ardor led. Imprudently I let my gaze meet theirs, nor could I then withhold my eyes. One by chance I noticed who surpassed the others, and that glance was the beginning of my ills. Even Venus might wish to appear to mortals in her shape; fair like her must the queen of the gods have been. Mischievous Cupid, mindful of his threat, cast her in my path; he alone laid this snare before me. Not far off lurked the crafty god himself with the mighty weight of his torch and his many arrows hanging from his back. Without a moment's loss he clung now to the eyelids, and now to the mouth of the maiden; thence in he darted between her lips, then settled on her cheeks; and wherever the nimble archer flitted, alas! from a thousand points he wounded my defenceless breast. Forthwith strange passions assailed my heart. The fire of love within consumed me; I was all aflame.

Meanwhile, she who now was my only pleasure in misery was snatched from my sight to return no more. Yet, silent and sorrowing, I pursued my way, my understanding dulled, and in doubt I often wished to retrace my steps. I am torn asunder: my body remains here; my soul pursues the object of its desire. It is my solace to weep for the joys so suddenly snatched away. Thus Juno's son, cast down among the hearths of Lemnos, mourned for the heaven he had lost; thus Amphiaraus, borne down by his frightened horses to Orcus, looked back on the vanishing sun. What shall I do, wretched and overcome as I am with grief? I cannot put aside the love begun, nor yet may I follow after it. O, would it were given me but once again to see her beloved countenance and to speak a few sad words with her face to face. Perchance she is not wrought in adamant; perhaps she would not be deaf to my prayers. Surely none has ever burned so unhappily. I may stand as the first and only example. Spare me, I pray, since you are the winged god of Love, and Love is tender. Let not your acts conflict with your office. Now, O son of Venus, with your darts no less potent than fire, now in truth is your bow a terror to me. Henceforth your altars will smoke with my offerings, and you alone will be for me supreme among the gods. Take away my longings then; yet nay, take them not; I know not why, but all love is sweet pain. But if any maiden hereafter will be mine, in kindness let one arrow pierce us both, and make us lovers.