Horace

8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC / Italy

Bkii:Viii Faithless Barine

If any punishment ever visited
you, Barine, for all your perjuries, if you
were ever harmed at all by a darkened tooth,
a spoilt fingernail,

I’d trust you. But no sooner have you bound your
faithless soul by promises, than you appear
much lovelier, and shine out, as everyone’s
dearest young thing.

It helps you to swear by your mother’s buried
ashes, by all night’s silent constellations,
by the heavens, and the gods, who are free from
the icy chill of death.

Venus herself smiles at it all, yes she does:
the artless Nymphs, smile too, and cruel Cupid,
who’s always sharpening his burning arrows
on a blood-stained stone.

Add that all our youths are being groomed for you,
groomed as fresh slaves, while none of your old lovers
leave the house of their impious mistress, as
they often threatened.

All the mothers fear you, because of their sons,
and the thrifty old fathers, and wretched brides,
who once were virgins, in case your radiance
makes husbands linger.
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