previous next
     These ills are found in prospering love and true;
But in crossed love and helpless there be such
As through shut eyelids thou canst still take in-
Uncounted ills; so that 'tis better far
To watch beforehand, in the way I've shown,
And guard against enticements. For to shun
A fall into the hunting-snares of love
Is not so hard, as to get out again,
When tangled in the very nets, and burst
The stoutly-knotted cords of Aphrodite.
Yet even when there enmeshed with tangled feet,
Still canst thou scape the danger-lest indeed
Thou standest in the way of thine own good,
And overlookest first all blemishes
Of mind and body of thy much preferred,
Desirable dame. For so men do,
Eyeless with passion, and assign to them
Graces not theirs in fact. And thus we see
Creatures in many a wise crooked and ugly
The prosperous sweethearts in a high esteem;
And lovers gird each other and advise
To placate Venus, since their friends are smit
With a base passion- miserable dupes
Who seldom mark their own worst bane of all.
The black-skinned girl is "tawny like the honey";
The filthy and the fetid's "negligee";
The cat-eyed she's "a little Pallas," she;
The sinewy and wizened's "a gazelle";
The pudgy and the pigmy is "piquant,
One of the Graces sure"; the big and bulky
O she's "an Admiration, imposante";
The stuttering and tongue-tied "sweetly lisps";
The mute girl's "modest"; and the garrulous,
The spiteful spit-fire, is "a sparkling wit";
And she who scarcely lives for scrawniness
Becomes "a slender darling"; "delicate"
Is she who's nearly dead of coughing-fit;
The pursy female with protuberant breasts
She is "like Ceres when the goddess gave
Young Bacchus suck"; the pug-nosed lady-love
"A Satyress, a feminine Silenus";
The blubber-lipped is "all one luscious kiss"-
A weary while it were to tell the whole.
But let her face possess what charm ye will,
Let Venus' glory rise from all her limbs,-
Forsooth there still are others; and forsooth
We lived before without her; and forsooth
She does the same things- and we know she does-
All, as the ugly creature, and she scents,
Yes she, her wretched self with vile perfumes;
Whom even her handmaids flee and giggle at
Behind her back. But he, the lover, in tears
Because shut out, covers her threshold o'er
Often with flowers and garlands, and anoints
Her haughty door-posts with the marjoram,
And prints, poor fellow, kisses on the doors-
Admitted at last, if haply but one whiff
Got to him on approaching, he would seek
Decent excuses to go out forthwith;
And his lament, long pondered, then would fall
Down at his heels; and there he'd damn himself
For his fatuity, observing how
He had assigned to that same lady more-
Than it is proper to concede to mortals.
And these our Venuses are 'ware of this.
Wherefore the more are they at pains to hide
All the-behind-the-scenes of life from those
Whom they desire to keep in bonds of love-
In vain, since ne'ertheless thou canst by thought
Drag all the matter forth into the light
And well search out the cause of all these smiles;
And if of graceful mind she be and kind,
Do thou, in thy turn, overlook the same,
And thus allow for poor mortality.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Venus (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Pallas (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Ceres (New York, United States) (1)
Bacchus (Tennessee, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: