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.
Phocian Xanthis, don’t be ashamed of love
for your serving-girl. Once before, Briseis
the Trojan slave with her snow-white skin stirred
See how Soracte stands glistening with snowfall,
and the labouring woods bend under the weight:
see how the mountain streams are frozen,
cased in the ice by the shuddering cold?
The Father’s sent enough dread hail
and snow to earth already, striking
sacred hills with fiery hand,
to scare the city,
What god, man, or hero do you choose to praise
on the high pitched flute or the lyre, Clio?
Whose name will it be that joyfully resounds
in playful echoes,
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.
The man who is pure of life, and free of sin,
has no need, dear Fuscus, for Moorish javelins,
nor a bow and a quiver, fully loaded
with poisoned arrows,
O ship the fresh tide carries back to sea again.
Where are you going! Quickly, run for harbour.
Can’t you see how your sides
have been stripped bare of oars,