Unlock solutions to your love life challenges, from choosing the right partner to navigating deception and loneliness, with the book "Lust Love & Liberation ". Click here to get your copy!
Unlock solutions to your love life challenges, from choosing the right partner to navigating deception and loneliness, with the book "Lust Love & Liberation ". Click here to get your copy!

Illness In Phaecia

Illness In Phaecia

4 mins

Will you cross the aegean sea without me, messalla,

Oh I hope you and your company remember me!

Phaecia holds me, ill, in a foreign country:

Death, black one, keep your hands away from me, I beg,

Black death, I beg you keep away: my mother is not here

To gather the charred bones to her grieving breast,

No sister to pour assyrian perfumes on my ashes

And weep with loosened hair before my tomb.

No delia at all, who when she sent me from the city,

Took counsel, they say, before every god.

She took the sacred lots three times from the acolyte:

And the boy ascribed good omens to all three.

All promised my return: yet nothing deterred her

From weeping and brooding on my journey.

I myself, the comforter, when I’d given my parting orders,

Searched endlessly, anxiously, for slow delay.

The flight of birds or evil omens were my excuses

Or saturn’s inauspicious day held me back.

Oh, how many times i said, starting off, that my feet

Stumbling at the threshold gave me sad warning!

When love’s unwilling let no man depart,

Or he’ll find that the god himself forbade his going.

What use is your isis, to me now delia, what use

The bronze that you rattled so often in your hand,

Or, while you worshipped with holy rite, I remember,

Your bathing in pure water, sleeping in a pure bed?

Now, goddess, help me now (since the many pictures

In your temples witness that you can heal)

So my delia fulfilling her midnight vows

Might sit before your sacred doors, shrouded in linen

And twice a day be bound to speak your praise, conspicuous

With loosened hair among the pharian crowd.

And may I be able to worship my home’s penates

And offer the monthly incense to the ancient lar.

How well they lived in the reign of saturn,

Before the world was opened up to foreign travel!

The pine had not yet scorned the blue waves,

Or offered spreading sails to the wind,

Nor had the wandering mariner seeking profit

In unknown lands loaded his boat with alien wares.

In those days the strong ox had not submitted to the yoke,

The horse did not champ the bit with tame mouth,

No house had doors, no stone was fixed in the earth

To determine a fixed boundary to the field.

The oaks themselves dripped honey, and, uncalled,

Ewes with full udders came to their carefree owner.

There was no army, anger, war, the cruel maker

Had not forged the sword with his harsh craft.

Now under jove’s rule always wounds and gore,

Sudden death, now by sea, now by a thousand ways.

Pardon, father. Don’t make me fear oaths in my timidity,

Or impious words spoken against the sacred gods.

But if I’ve now fulfilled my allotted years, let a stone

Inscribed with these words be set up above my bones:

Here lies tibullus wasted by inexorable death,

While following messalla by land and sea.

But I, since I’m fitted ever for tender love,

I’ll lead venus through the elysian fields.

There the dance and song flourish, and here and there,

The birds fly, singing sweet songs from slender throats:

The fields, untilled, bear cassia, and over all the land

The kindly earth flowers with perfumed roses:

And ranks of young men and girls mix in play,

And love stirs his warfare endlessly.

There are the lovers to whom came greedy death,

And their hair bears myrtle wreaths for all to see.

But the place of the wicked, who are passed, lies deep

In darkness, round which black rivers sound:

And wild tisiphone rages, with savage snakes for hair,

And the impious crowd runs here and there.

Then there is black cerberus carrying a snake in his mouth

Hissing and keeping guard of the bronze doors.

Ixion is there who dared to attempt juno

His guilty limbs whirling on the swift wheel:

And tityos stretched over nine acres of ground

Vultures feeding forever on his dark liver.

Tantalus is there, pools of water round him: but it

Flies from his raging thirst before he can drink:

And danaus’s daughters, who offended the power of venus,

Carry the waters of lethe in leaking buckets.

Let whoever who has violated my love be there,

Who wished me long services abroad.

But i beg you stay true, let the old woman who protects

Sacred honour, always sit with you diligently.

She will tell you tales and when the lamp is lit

Draw long threads from the full distaff:

While the girls all round work at their heavy task,

Till little by little, wearied, the work sends them to sleep.

Then let me come suddenly, no one bring news before,

But let me appear to have dropped from the sky.

Then run to meet me, delia, just as you are,

With naked feet, with your long hair disordered.

This I pray for: with her rose-red horses,

Let bright dawn bring me that shining morning-star.

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