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Addressed to Cynthia

1 While you linger in the middle of Baiae, Cynthia,
where the path lies on Herculean shores,
and marvel at seas subdued in the reign
of Thesprotus, near the nobility of Misenum,
does my memory ever bring a night of thought?
Is there any place left for a love on its way out?
Has some enemy, I know not who, stolen you
with simulated passion, out of my songs?

I hope a small skiff keeps you adrift
with its tiny oars on Lake Lucrinus,
or the sweet water holds you in Teuthras'
light waves, swimming arm over arm,
but don't stoop to listening to some guy's flirtatious
whispers, as you recline sweetly on a quiet shore!
This is what girls slip into when their custodian's away,
they betray their fidelity and our common gods!

It's not that I've spied on you, or rumors have reached me,
but in Naples no love is safe.
So don't pay attention if my books have brought you
any sadness: fear is to blame.

Is the care of my dear mother important to me now?
Is there any reason at all to my life without you?
You alone are my home, you, Cynthia, alone, my parents,
you are all the times of my happiness.
Whether I come sad or happy among friends,
whatever I will be, I will say, “Cynthia was the reason.”

Just leave corrupt Baiae as soon as possible.
Those shores will bring divorce to many,
shores unfriendly to chaste girls.
Go to hell, waters of Baiae, you crime against love!


  • now Baia, then a fashionable resort on North shore of Bay of Naples, between Lucrine lake and promontory of Misenum.
  • Hercules built causeway separating Lucrine lake from sea, while making off with Geryon's cattle.
  • ruled the region of the river Acheron in Epirus, reputed to lead to Hades. Perhaps Propertius is drawing a connection to Lake Avernus, near Naples, another entrance to Hades.
  • small town on coast near Baiae.
  • mythological king in the region.
  • load focus Latin (Lucian Mueller, 1898)
    load focus Latin (Vincent Katz, 1995)
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    • Commentary references to this page (1):
      • Walter Leaf, Commentary on the Iliad (1900), 6.429
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