Amores II:17

Sulmo, a third portion of the Paelignian countryside, holds a piece of my heart. It’s a small region but fed by sweet waters. Even when the sun draws near in summer and cracks the Earth, and fierce Sirius, Icarus’ dog, glitters in the night, the Paelignian fields are watered by streams and the crops grow green in the moist soil.

The land is rich in grain and far richer in grape; occasional fields are planted in Athena’s olives. With streams snaking through overhanging rushes, the grassy turf shades the well-watered soil.

But my passion is absent. Let me rephrase that: she who arouses my love is far off, though my passion is present. I wouldn’t want to be placed in heaven between Castor and Pollux if it meant being apart from you.

Let those who blaze long trails across the globe fall dead in misery and be buried too soon beneath the soil, so long as they order the girlfriends of the youths to accompany them, if the earth must really be divided by long trails. Though I shivering climbed the windy Alps, I would find the journey a light one so long as my mistress was with me. With my mistress I would dare the Libyan Gulf and spread my sails to the dangerous South Wind.

I should not fear even the ominous dogs barking from the maiden Scylla’s belly in your curved bay, Malea; nor you, Charybdis, choked with sunken ships, who suck waters into your mouth and then spew them out. My love, if the great winds of Neptune bear us down to the gods of the Underworld, you will place your snowy arms on my shoulders and I will easily bear the sweet burden of your body.

Often young Leander swam across the Strait to the arms of Hero. When he tried to swim back, however, he had no beacon to guide him.

But without you, though vine-rich fields and well-watered plowland surround me; though the farmer leads flowing water into the irrigation ditches, and cool breezes ruffle the foliage of the trees, I cannot seem to be happy in these healthy Paelignian lands–despite their being my birthplace and my homeland. They seem to me Scythia and Cilicia and the wild blue Britons and the crags of the Caucasus red with the blood of Prometheus.

The elm loves the vine, the vine does not desert the elm. Why am I so often separated from my mistress?

Only swear to me that you will be my companion in the future: swear by me and by your eyes, my stars. The oaths of a girl are lighter than falling leaves which the winds and waves bear wherever they wish. But if you have any regard for the dutiful concern of my abandoned self, begin to suit your actions to your promises. As soon as possible let your chariot rush here as your reins slap the necks of the Gallic ponies!

You, towering mountains, flatten so that she may come, and be easy, roads through the curving valleys.

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