The loveliness of her body called to me and drew
us together. There was the sound of a rain of kisses as our lips met, our hands were
clasped and discovered all the ways of love, then our bodies were held and bound by
our embrace until even our souls were made as one soul. . . .
My open taunts stung the lady, and at last she ran to avenge herself, and called her
chamber grooms, and ordered me to be hoisted for flogging. Not content With this
black insult, the woman called up all her low[p. 295]
spinsters, and the
very dregs of her slaves, and invited them to spit upon me. I put my hands to my
eyes and never poured forth any appeal, for I knew my deserts, and was beaten and
spat upon and thrown out of doors. Proselenos was thrown out too, Chrysis was
flogged, and all the slaves muttered gloomily to themselves, and asked who had upset
their mistress's spirits. . . . So after considering my position I took courage, and
carefully hid the marks of the lash for fear Eumolpus should exult or Giton be
depressed at my disgrace. | Quod solum igitur salvo pudore poteram, contingere
languorem simulavi, conditusque lectulo totum ignem furoris in eam converti, quae
mihi omnium malorum causa fuerat:
ter corripui terribilem manu bipennem,
ter languidior coliculi repente thyrso
ferrum timui, quod trepido male dabat usum.
Nee iam poteram, quod modo conficere libebat;
namque illa metu frigidior rigente bruma
confugerat in viscera mille operta rugis.
Ita non potui supplicio caput aperire,
sed furciferae mortifero timore lusus
ad verba, imagis quae poterant nocere, fugi.
Erectus igitur in cubitum hac fere oratione contumacem vexavi: “Quid
dicis” inquam “omnium hominum
deorumque pudor? Nam ne nominare quidem te inter res serias fas est. Hoc de te
merui, ut me in caelo positum ad inferos traheres? | Ut traduceres
annos primo florentes vigore senectaeque ultimae mihi lassitudinem
imponeres? Rogo te, mihi apodixin defunctoriam redde.” Haec ut iratus
|illa solo fixos oculos aversa tenebat,
nec magis incepto vultum sermone movetur
quam lentae salices lassove papavera collo.
Nec minus ego tam foeda obiurgatione finita paenitentiam agere sermonis mei coepi
secretoque rubore perfundi, quod oblitus verecundiae meae cum ea parte corporis
verba contulerim, quam ne ad cognitionem quidem admittere severioris notae homines
Then, after rubbing my forehead for a long while, I said, "But what harm have I done
if I have relieved my sorrow with some free abuse? And then there is the fact that
of our bodily members we often damn our guts, our throats, even our heads, when they
give us much trouble. Did not Ulysses argue with his own heart,1
while some tragedians curse their eyes as if they
could hear? Gouty people damn their feet, people with chalk-stones their hands,
blear-eyed people their eyes, and men who have often hurt their toes put down all
their ills to their poor feet:
“Why do ye, Cato's disciples, look at me with wrinkled foreheads, and condemn a
work of fresh simplicity? A cheerful kindness laughs through my pure speech, and
my clean mouth reports whatever the people do. All men born know of mating and
the joys of love; all men are free to let their limbs glow in a warm bed.
Epicurus, the true father of truth, bade wise men be lovers, and said that
therein lay the crown of life.” . . .
There is nothing more insincere than people's silly convictions, or more silly than
their sham morality. . . .