Alas, Cupid, whom I never could abandon! Ah, boy who fills all my leisure thoughts–why do you punish me, a soldier who never left your standards? You wound me in my own camp!
Why does your torch burn your friends, why do your arrows transfix us? There is greater glory in conquering those who fight against you. Why do you behave this way? Did not Haemonian Achilles later aid the man whom he’d wounded with the same point?
A hunter chases those who flee him but frees those he captures; he always seeks the prize beyond the ones he’s found. We, those who’ve surrendered to you, already know the strength of your arms. You’re wasting effort that should be directed against those who oppose you!
What do you gain by blunting your hooked arrows on bare bones? For Love has stripped my bones bare!
There are so many men without love, so many girls without love: triumph over them and you’ll gain great praise. If Rome hadn’t thrown its power out across the great world, if would be a straggle of thatch-roofed cottages today
The worn-out soldier is given fields to retire to; the racehorse is put out to pasture. The long sheds of the naval arsenal cover the pine hulls of warships, and the veteran who has put down his sword is granted a discharge baton.
I too, who served so long in the love of a girl, have passed the time at which I should be allowed to live quietly!
When anybody says to me, “You should put thoughts of love out of your life,” I mutter, “God forbid!” Girls are such a sweet evil to me.
I’m completely exhausted and my spirits are at a low ebb, my mind is driven into a miserable spiral. Thus a hard-mouthed horse gets the bit in his teeth and rushes headlong though his driver desperately saws the foam-splattered reins; thus in sight of land and safety, a storm snatches a ship out into the deep again–so does the uncertain breeze of Cupid often carry me off, and so purple-clad Love aims again the arrows I know well.
Shoot me, boy! I have thrown off my armor and wait with bared breast. Here is what your strength has left of me, here is what your right hand has made. I am the target your arrows would turn to however you aimed them. I doubt anyone knows the contents of your quiver as well as I do.
The man who lies quiet all night and counts sleep as a blessing is a poor soul. Fool, what is sleep but a reflection of chill death? Lifeless eternity will give us plenty of time for quiet!
Let a deceitful girlfriend tell me lies: I will bear this by hoping it’ll lead me to my fondest desire. Let my mistress sometimes flatter me, sometimes whip up fierce quarrels; often I will enjoy her favors, often I will trudge away unsatisfied.
Mars is doubtful because he models himself on you, Cupid, his stepson. Your stepfather acts by your example. You are faithless and more changeable than your fluttering wings; you bring pleasures or deny them with equal facility.
No matter how often you hear your pretty mother calling you, remain here and make my heart your kingdom. And let girls, that overly flighty throng, fall under your kingship also that you may be worshipped by both the male and female races.