'Sincerity comes with the wine-cup,' my dear:
Then now o'er our wine-cups let us be sincere.
My soul's treasured secret to you I'll impart;
It is this; that I never won fairly your heart.
One half of my life, I am conscious, has flown;
The residue lives on your image alone.
You are kind, and I dream I'm in paradise then;
You are angry, and lo! all is darkness again.
It is right to torment one who loves you? Obey
Your elder; 'twere best; and you'll thank me one day.
Settle down in one nest on one tree (taking care
That no cruel reptile can clamber up there);
As it is with your lovers you're fairly perplexed;
One day you choose one bough, another the next.
Whoe'er at all struck by your graces appears,
Is more to you straight than the comrade of years;
While he's like the friend of a day put aside;
For the breath of your nostrils, I think, is your pride.
Form a friendship, for life, with some likely young lad;
So doing, in honour your name shall be had.
Nor would Love use you hardly; though lightly can he
Bind strong men in chains, and has wrought upon me
Till the steel is as wax--but I'm longing to press
That exquisite mouth with a clinging caress.
No? Reflect that you're older each year than the last;
That we all must grow gray, and the wrinkles come fast.
Reflect, ere you spurn me, that youth at his sides
Wears wings; and once gone, all pursuit he derides:
Nor are men over keen to catch charms as they fly.
Think of this and be gentle, be loving as I:
When your years are maturer, we two shall be then
The pair in the Iliad over again.
But if you consign all my words to the wind
And say, 'Why annoy me? you're not to my mind,'
I--who lately in quest of the Gold Fruit had sped
For your sake, or of Cerberus guard of the dead--
Though you called me, would ne'er stir a foot from my door,
For my love and my sorrow thenceforth will be o'er.