Amores I:11

Nape, you’re skilled at arranging your mistress’ scattered hair, but you’re not merely a handmaid. You’ve shown your talent for the duties of the furtive night, and you’ve proved your cleverness at passing me notes. Often you’ve encouraged a hesitant Corinna to come to me, often you’ve proven faithful when I was in difficulties. 

Thrust aside all forms of delay and take the tablets I’ve written this morning to your mistress. You don’t have veins of stone nor a heart of hard iron, and you’re not a complete innocent. I believe you too have sensed the darts of Cupid: guard these as though they were the standards of your own service.

If she asks what I’m doing, say that I live in hope of a night with her. For the rest, just offer in your charming hand the wax on which I’ve written.

While I’m talking, the hour flies. Slip her the tablet when she’s alone, but make sure that she reads it immediately. And carefully watch her eyes and her forehead while she reads: from her expression alone it’s possible to foretell the future.

Hasten! Tell her to reply with a long letter when she’s read mine. I hate it when most of the tablet shines unused! Let her squeeze her lines together on the wax and scribble the last letters in the margin so that I have to squint to read them.

And yet what need is there for her to tire her fingers with a stylus? Let her write nothing on the tablet but, “Come!”

If this succeeds I won’t delay to wrap the victorious tablet in laurel and hang it in the temple of Venus with the caption: NASO DEDICATES THIS FAITHFUL MINISTER TO VENUS, WHO RECENTLY TREATED HIM LIKE TRASH.

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