Cypassis, only goddesses could be worthy of your perfected skill at arranging hair in a thousand styles, and the skill which I know you possess for stolen pleasures is not at all that of a farm girl. You’re a treasure for your mistress, but a greater treasure to me.
Who told Corinna about the way our bodies fit together? How did she learn about your trysts? Did I perhaps blush? Did I reveal our secret passion with an ill-chosen word?
But why should I feel that dallying with a slave girl is a sign of madness? Achilles burned for the face of the handmaid Briseis, and though the Apollo-descended Cassandra was only a slave, Agamemnon, the scion of Tantalus, loved her. I’m no better than the Mycenaean warlord nor the Thessalian hero; shall I feel defiled for behavior that kings found acceptable?
But nevertheless when your mistress fixed her angry eyes on you, I saw your whole face redden. And then, if you’ll remember, I instantly swore my innocence with a fierce oath to Venus. (I call on you, goddess! May you order the gentle South Wind to sweep the false oaths of a true servant into the seas off Crete.)
Now it’s time to repay my good offices, swarthy Cypassis, by sleeping with me. Why do you deny me and pretend you’re all frightened, ungrateful one? It’s enough that you give full satisfaction to one of your pair of masters.
Because if you continue to foolishly deny me, I’ll blurt to your mistress all we’ve done in the past, coming forward as a witness to betray my own sin. I’ll tell her not only where and how often we got together, Cypassis, but what we did and how many times we did it.