Cruel Venus, Cupid’s mother,
Bacchus, too, commands me, Theban Semele’s son,
and you, lustful Licentiousness,
to recall to mind that love I thought long-finished.
I burn for Glycera’s beauty,
who gleams much more brightly than Parian marble:
I burn for her lovely boldness
and her face too dangerous to ever behold.
Venus bears down on me, wholly,
deserting her Cyprus, not letting me sing of
the Scythians, or Parthians
eager at wheeling their horses, nor anything else.
Here set up the green turf altar,
boys, and the sacred boughs of vervain, and incense,
place here a bowl of last year’s wine:
if a victim’s sacrificed, she’ll come more gently.