Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
What slender boy, Pyrrha, drowned in liquid perfume,
urges you on, there, among showers of roses,
deep down in some pleasant cave?
For whom did you tie up your hair,
Fierce winter slackens its grip: it’s spring and the west wind’s sweet change:
the ropes are hauling dry hulls towards the shore,
The flock no longer enjoys the fold, or the ploughman the fire,
no more are the meadows white with hoary frost.
You’ll live more virtuously, my Murena,
by not setting out to sea, while you’re in dread
of the storm, or hugging fatal shores
too closely, either.
Phocian Xanthis, don’t be ashamed of love
for your serving-girl. Once before, Briseis
the Trojan slave with her snow-white skin stirred