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He who every light of the sky world's vastness inspected,
He who mastered in mind risings and settings of stars,
How of the fast rising sun obscured be the fiery splendours,
How at the seasons assured vanish the planets from view,
How Diana to lurk thief-like 'neath Latmian stone-fields,
Summoned by sweetness of Love, comes from her aëry gyre;
That same Cónon espied among lights Celestial shining
Me, Berenice's Hair, which, from her glorious head,
Fulgent in brightness afar, to many a host of the Godheads
Stretching her soft smooth arms she vowed to devoutly bestow,
What time strengthened by joy of new-made wedlock the monarch
Bounds of Assyrian land hurried to plunder and pill;
Bearing of nightly strife new signs and traces delicious,
Won in the war he waged virginal trophies to win.
Loathsome is Venus to all new-paired? Else why be the parents'
Pleasure frustrated aye by the false flow of tears
Poured in profusion amid illuminate genial chamber?
Nay not real the 'groans; ever so help me the Gods!
This truth taught me my Queen by force of manifold 'plainings
After her new groom hied facing the fierceness of fight.
Yet so thou mournedst not for a bed deserted of husband,
As for a brother beloved wending on woefullest way?
How was the marrow of thee consumedly wasted by sorrow!
So clean forth of thy breast, rackt with solicitous care,
Mind fled, sense being reft! But I have known thee for certain
E'en from young virginal years lofty of spirit to be.
Hast thou forgotten the feat whose greatness won thee a royal
Marriage—a deed so prow, never a prower was dared?
Yet how sad was the speech thou spakest, thy husband farewelling!
Jupiter!) Often thine eyes wiping with sorrowful hand!
What manner God so great thus changed thee? Is it that lovers
Never will tarry afar parted from person beloved?
Then unto every God on behalf of thy helpmate, thy sweeting,
Me thou gayest in vow, not without bloodshed of bulls,
If he be granted return, and long while nowise delaying,
Captive Asia he add unto Egyptian bounds.
Now for such causes I, enrolled in host of the Heavens,
By a new present, discharge promise thou madest of old:
Maugrè my will, 0 Queen, my place on thy head I relinquished,
Maugrè my will, I attest, swearing by thee and thy head;
Penalty due shall befall whoso makes oath to no purpose.
Yet who assumes the vaunt forceful as iron to be?
E'en was that mount o'erthrown, though greatest in universe, where through
Thía's illustrious race speeded its voyage to end,
Whenas the Medes brought forth new sea, and barbarous youth-hood
Urged an Armada to swim traversing middle-Athos.
What can be done by Hair when such things yield them to Iron?
Jupiter! Grant Chalybon perish the whole of the race,
Eke who in primal times ore seeking under the surface
Showed th' example, and spalled iron however so hard.
Shortly before I was shorn my sister tresses bewailèd
Lot of me, e'en as the sole brother to Memnon the Black,
Winnowing upper air wi' feathers flashing and quiv'ring,
Chloris' wing-borne steed, came before Arsinoë,
Whence upraising myself he flies through aëry shadows,
And in chaste Venus' breast drops he the present he bears.
Eke Zephyritis had sent, for the purpose trusted, her bondsman,
Settler of Grecian strain on the Canopian strand.
So willed various Gods, lest sole 'mid lights of the Heavens
Should Ariadne's crown taken from temples of her
Glitter in gold, but we not less shine fulgent in splendour,
We the consecrate spoils shed by a blond-hued head,
Even as weeping-wet sought I the fanes of Celestials
Placed me the Goddess a new light amid star-lights of old:
For with Virgo in touch and joining the furious Lion's
Radiance with Callisto, maid of Lyc´on beloved,
Wind I still to the west, conducting tardy Boötes,
Who unwilling and slow must into Ocean merge.
Yet though press me o'night the pacing footprints of Godheads,
Tethys, hoary of hair, ever regains me by day.
(Lend me thy leave to speak such words, Rhamnusian Virgin,
Verities like unto these never in fear will I veil;
Albeit every star asperse me with enemy's censure,
Secrets in soothfast heart hoarded perforce I reveal.)
Nowise gladdens me so this state as absence torments me,
Absence doomëd for aye ta'en fro' my mistress's head,
Where I was wont (though she such cares unknew in her girlhood)
Many a thousand scents, Syrian unguents, to sip.
Now do you pair conjoined by the longed-for light of the torches,
Earlier yield not selves unto unanimous wills
Nor wi' the dresses doft your barèd nipples encounter,
Ere shall yon onyx-vase pour me libations glad,
Onyx yours, ye that seek only rights of virtuous bed-rite.
But who yieldeth herself unto advowtry impure,
Ah! may her loathed gifts in light dust uselessly soak,
For of unworthy sprite never a gift I desire.
Rather, 0 new-mated brides, be concord aye your companion,
Ever let constant love dwell in the dwellings of you.
Yet when thou sightest, 0 Queen, the Constellations, I pray thee,
Every festal day Venus the Goddess appease;
Nor of thy unguent-gifts allow myself to be lacking,
Nay, do thou rather add largeliest increase to boons.
Would but the stars down fall! Could I of my Queen be the hair-lock,
Neighbour to Hydrochois e'en let Oarion shine.

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load focus Notes (E. T. Merrill, 1893)
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hide References (31 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (25):
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 1
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 116
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 14
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 2
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 29
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 34
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 35
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 50
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 51
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 58b
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 6
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 61
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 62
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 63
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 64
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 65
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 67
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 68b
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 69
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 8
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 88
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 9
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 96
    • E. T. Merrill, Commentary on Catullus, 97
    • George W. Mooney, Commentary on Apollonius: Argonautica, 3.1003
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