Waylaid By Love
Poem by Propertius
Last night, light of my life, while wandering drunkenly,
without attending slaves to lead the way,
I met a throng of tiny boys - I do not know
how many (fear forbade me number them) .
Some held little torches, others carried arrows,
and some, I thought, were readying chains for me.
But they were naked. One, friskier than the rest,
said, 'Grab him! You all know him well by now!
This is the man the angry woman hired us for! '
He spoke, and then the noose was round my neck.
One bid them push me into their midst, and another said,
'Perish the man who thinks we are not gods!
She waits for you hours on end, not that you deserve it,
but you, fool, seek some other woman's door.
When she undoes the bands of her Sidonian blue
night-scarf, and turns her drowsy gaze to yours,
perfumes will breathe on you, from no Arabian spice,
but that Love made himself, with his own hands.
Now spare him, brothers; now he vows a faithful love,
and see! here is the house that we protect.'
And then, when I had put my cloak back on, they said,
'Now go, and learn to spend your nights at home.'
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