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Carmen 61 (in English by Brendan Rau)
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Available in Latin, Brazilian Port., Chinese, Croatian, English, French, Hungarian, Italian, and Scanned. Compare two languages here.
O, inhabitant of the mountain of Helicon, son of
Urania, who seize a dainty young woman and carry her off to
a man, o Hymenaeus, Hymen! o Hymenaeus Hymen! Crown your
temples with flowers, take your flame-colored veil, pleasant
with fragrant marjoram, and come over here, wearing a
reddish yellow slipper on a snow-white foot! And having been
roused from sleep on a cheerful day, singing wedding songs
in a high-pitched voice, strike the ground with your feet,
and shake the pinewood marriage-torch with your hand! Good
virgin Junia dons the veil for Manius with a good omen, like
Venus, who dwells in Idalium, as she came to Paris, the
Phrygian judge. And she is just like an Asian myrtle tree
shining forth with small, flowery branches, which the wood
nymphs nurture with dewy moisture, as amusement for
themselves. Therefore come, making an approach over here,
and continue, leaving behind the Aonian caves of the
Thespian rock, the caves which the nymph Aganippe makes wet
as she cools them from above. And call the mistress,
desirous of her new husband, home, as you bind their minds
with love, like wandering ivy clinging to a tree in a
tangle! Likewise, you unmarried virgins, whose own wedding
day, as well, is coming soon, act in the right and proper
way, and sing, “O Hymenaeus Hymen! o Hymenaeus Hymen,” in
order that the leader of good Venus, the one who conjoins
good love, might make his approach over here more gladly
when he hears himself being called to the task. Which god is
more to be sought by lovers who are loved? Which of the gods
will people look after the more, o Hymenaeus Hymen, o
Hymenaeus Hymen? Sex can seize nothing of benefit without
you, because a good reputation demonstrates one’s goodness,
but sex can do this when you are willing. Who would dare be
compared to this god? Without you, no family can give
children, and no parent can rely on his offspring, but he
can when you are willing. Who would dare be compared to this
god? A land that lacked your holy rites would not be able to
give guardians to its borders: but it would if you were
willing. Who would dare be compared to this god? Open the
bars of the door. There is a young woman. Do you see how the
marriage torches shake their fiery locks? ....A natural
sense of shame may delay the bride. Nevertheless, hearing
her shame the more, she weeps because she must go. Stop
crying, Junia. In your case, there is no danger that a
prettier woman has seen the rising light of day. Such a
hyacinth-colored flower usually stands in the multicolored
little garden of a wealthy lord. But you are dallying, and
the day is ending. Please go forth as the bride. Please
advance as the bride, if it seems proper at this time, and
hear our words. See? The wedding torches shake their golden
locks: please advance as the bride. Your husband is not
fickle; not devoted to a bad mistress, he does not pursue
indecent scandals, and he won’t want to sleep apart from
your dainty little breasts; but just as a supple vine
entwines with trees planted nearby, he will become entangled
in your embrace. But the day is ending. Please go forth as
the bride. O marriage bed, which for everyone... How
numerous the pleasures of the ivory-footed marriage bed come
to your husband, which, on a restless night, and in the
middle of the day, may he enjoy! But the day is ending;
please go forth as the bride. Boys, raise the wedding-
torches; I see the flame-colored veil coming. Go and sing in
unison, in the right and proper way: “Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus,
yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!” Lest the ribald Fescennine jesting
be silent for a long time, and the groom’s catamite refuse
nuts to boys as he hears about abandoned love. Give nuts to
the boys, lazy catamite! You have played with nuts long
enough: now it pleases Hymenaeus to be of service. Catamite,
give nuts. You considered farm managers’ wives unworthy of
your attention, today and yesterday. Now your hairdresser
shaves your beard. O wretched, wretched catamite, give nuts!
Anointed groom, you will be criticized for keeping away from
your bald, effeminate slaves, but keep away from them. Yo!
Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! We know that these
peccadilloes (which are permitted to you) are the only ones
you have known, but they are not permitted to a married man.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! Wife, beware
lest you deny the things that both you and your husband
seek, lest he go to seek them from elsewhere. Yo! Hymen
Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! Behold how powerful and
wealthy your husband’s house is, which is in your interest:
allow it to be of service to you (Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo!
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!) until old white-haired womanhood,
nodding her tremulous head, nods assent to everything for
everyone. Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! With
a good omen, carry your gold-colored little feet over the
threshold, and go beneath the door of polished wood. Yo!
Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! Look inside in
order that your husband, reclining in his crimson bed, might
be completely intent on you. Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo!
Hymen Hymenaeus! A flame burns no less ardently in his
innermost heart than in yours, but secretly, even more so.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! Young man,
give your smooth little arm to the maiden; let her visit her
husband’s bed now. Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen
Hymenaeus! You good women, well known by your aged husbands,
array the maiden on her marriage bed. Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus,
yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus! You may come now, bridegroom: your
wife is in the marriage chamber, and her countenance is
flowery and radiant, like the white chamomile or the red
poppy. But (thus may the gods help me) you are no less
handsome, o bridegroom, and Venus is not indifferent to you.
But the day is ending. Proceed, and do not dally. You have
not waited long; now you are coming. May good Venus be of
help to you, since what you desire you desire openly, and
you do not conceal your good love. Let him who wishes to
count the many thousands of your love-plays first calculate
the amount of sand in Africa and the number of twinkling
stars! Play as you like, and within a short time, produce
children. It isn’t fitting for an old name to be without
children, but it is fitting for them to be engendered from
the same family. I want Torquatus to laugh sweetly, with a
half-open lip, as, from his mother’s lap, he stretches out
his delicate hand to his father. May he be like his father
Manlius, and easily recognized by everyone who is unknowing,
and may he declare the sexual fidelity of his mother by
mouth! May the virtue from his good mother prove the
excellence of his family, just as the peerless flame remains
for Telemachus from his excellent mother, Penelope. Close
the doors of the marriage chamber, young ladies: we have
played enough. But, good newlyweds, live well and spend your
vigorous youth in incessant conjugal activity!

Taken with kind permission from Brendan
© copyright 17-4-1999 by Brendan Rau
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