8 December 65 BC – 27 November 8 BC / Italy

Bki:Xvi He Repents

O lovelier child of a lovely mother,
end as you will, then, my guilty iambics
whether in flames or whether instead
deep down in the Adriatic’s waters.

Neither Cybele, nor Apollo, who troubles
the priestess’s mind in the Pythian shrine,
nor Bacchus, nor the Corybants who
clash their shrill, ringing cymbals together,

pain us like anger, that’s undefeated by
swords out of Noricum, or sea, the wrecker,
or cruel fire, or mighty Jupiter
when he sweeps down in terrible fury.

They say when Prometheus was forced to add
something from every creature to our first clay
he chose to set in each of our hearts
the violence of the irascible lion.

Anger brought Thyestes down, to utter ruin,
and it’s the prime reason powerful cities
vanished in their utter destruction,
and armies, in scorn, sent the hostile plough

over the levelled spoil of their shattered walls.
Calm your mind: the passions of the heart have made
their attempt on me, in my sweet youth,
and drove me, maddened, as well, to swift verse:

I wish to change the bitter lines to sweet, now,
since I’ve charmed away all of my hostile words,
if you might become my friend, again,
and if you, again, might give me your heart.
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