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Addressed to Cynthia

1 I knew your contempt would get to be a drag,
Cynthia, but I never expected you to be unfaithful.
Look at me, how fate snatches me from danger's mouth!
Yet you come lazily to me in my terror.
You fix yesterday's set with your hands,
examine your face in slow deliberation.
You decorate your breasts with oriental jewels,
as any beauty does, preparing to see a new man.

But this wasn't how Calypso acted. Moved by the departure
for Ithaca, she wept to the deserted seas.
For many days she sat, a wreck, her hair a mess,
speaking constantly to the “unjust sea.”
And though she was never to see him again, still
she mourned, remembering their long happiness.
And Hypsipyle stood in her empty bedroom,
destroyed, when the winds snatched Jason away:
Hypsipyle had no lovers after him,
she wasted away over her Thessalian guest.
Alphesiboea killed her brothers for her husband;
her love broke the bonds of blood and respect.
Evadne plunged on her poor husband's flames
and died, that legend of Argive morals.

But none of these examples changed your ways,
and you might have had a fine history.
Stop reviving perjury with your words,
Cynthia, moving those forgotten gods.
Why so restless? You'll hurt from my pain
if something serious should happen to you!
May rivers cease flowing to the vast ocean,
and the year lead its seasons in reverse,
before you should leave my breast:
be whatever you want, just not alien.

Don't cheapen those lovely eyes
which have often hid your infidelity!
You once swore, if you ever told a lie,
they would fall out into your own hands.
Can you still raise them to the great Sun
untrembling, aware the evil you've admitted to?

Who made you change so many colors
and cry with unwilling eyes?
Let my death be a warning to other lovers:
Don't believe a word she says!


  • detained Odysseus eight years on island of Ogygia, until Athena commanded her to build a raft for him.
  • queen of Lemnos. When Jason stopped there he fell in love with her, but continued on his voyage.
  • her brothers killed her husband, Alcmaeon, because he took a lover while separated in exile. Alphesiboea avenged him by killing them.
  • wife of Capaneus, blasted by a thunderbolt from Jupiter for an impious boast.
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    • Commentary references to this page (1):
      • George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica, 3.297
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