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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Author Unknown
From the ‘Pervigilium Veneris’
Roman Poets of the Later Empire
 
Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

      Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!
 
SPRING again! The time of singing! All the earth regenerate!
Everywhere the rapt embrace! Each winged creature seeks his mate.
From thy leafy locks, O forest, shake the drops of bridal dew,
For to-morrow shall the Linker pass thy shadowy by-ways through,        5
Binding every bower with myrtle. Yea, to-morrow, on her throne,
Set in queenly state, Dione gives the law to all her own.
 
      Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!
 
Hark! the goddess calls her nymphs to enter by the myrtle gate.
“Come, my maidens, for the day to Love disarmed is consecrate.        10
Bidden to fling his burning gear, his quiver bidden to fling away,
So nor brand nor barbèd shaft may wound upon my holiday:
Lo, the Boy among the maidens! Foolish maidens, dull to see
In the helpless, bowless Cupid, still the dread divinity.
Have a care! his limbs are fair, and nakedness his panoply!”
*        *        *        *        *
        15
      Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!
 
“Be my bar,” the queen ordains, “with blushing garlands decorate.
When I sit for judgment, let the Graces three upon me wait;
Send me every blossom, Hybla, that thy opulent year doth yield;
Shed thy painted vesture, fair as that of Enna’s holy field.        20
Rally, all ye rural creatures! nymphs of grove and fountain bright,
Dwellers in the darksome woodland, haunters of the lonely height!”
*        *        *        *        *
      Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!
 
This is she, the procreatrix, hers the power, occult, innate,
Whereby soul and sense of man with breath divine are permeate.        25
Sower of the seed, and breather of the brooding warmth of life,
Hers the universal realm, with universal being rife.
None in air or hidden ocean, or the utmost parts of earth,
But have trodden, at her bidding, the mysterious ways of birth.
*        *        *        *        *
      Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit cras amet!        30
 
Hark the lowing herd, their joys in leafy shades who celebrate!
Hark the hoarser calling of the noisy marsh-bird to his mate!
Aye the goddess will have song of all whom she has dowered with wings;
Wherefore still the soul of Philomela in the poplar sings,
Till the very pulse of love seems beating in the rapturous strain,        35
And the sister soul of Procne hath forgot her wedded pain.
Who am I, to listen dumbly? Come, my spring, desired so long!
I have angered great Apollo, I have done the Muses wrong.
Come and waken on these voiceless lips of mine the swallow-song!
 
 
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