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Erotica Romana

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<SPAN name="link2H_4_0017" id="link2H_4_0017"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> XVIII </h2> <pre xml:space="preserve"> I cannot think I'd have gone with Julius Caesar to Britain; To the Popina right here, Florus would tug me with ease. Fogs of the dreary north remain a more baleful remembrance Than in the kitchens of Rome tribes of assiduous fleas. After today, I'll remember you even more kindly, tavernas, You osterias, as you are called, aptly by those here in Rome. That was the place I encountered my mistress today with the uncle Whom she so often deceives, so that she can have me. Here's where I sat at a table surrounded by good-natured Germans; Over on that side the girl, finding a seat for herself Next to her mother where, frequently shifting her bench, she arranged Nicely for me to perceive profile and curve of her neck; Speaks just a little more loudly than women in Rome are accustomed; Significant glance as she pours&mdash;misses the glass with the wine So that it spills on the table, and she with a delicate finger Over its surface can draw circles in damp arabesque: Her name entwining in mine, while my eyes most eagerly follow All that her fingertip writes. She is of course well aware That I am watching, so finally makes the V of the Roman Five, with a virgule before. Quickly, as soon as I've seen, She interlaces the circles, reducing them all to ornatest Patterns&mdash;but still the sweet IV stood as engraved in my eye. I sat there mutely and biting my passionate lips almost bloody Half from delight at the ruse, partly from stifled desire: Such a long time until dark, then another four hours of waiting. &mdash;Sun, who tarries on high, contemplating Rome: Greater never you've nor shall you in future see greater Than Rome, O sun, as your priest, Horace, enraptured foretold. Tarry no longer today. Go seek other realms beneath heaven. Sooner depart and leave Rome's seven famed hills to me. Please do the poet a favor and shorten the glorious hours Which the painter devours, eagerly filling his eyes. Cast now but one ardent glance, while descending, on noble fa�ades and Cupolas, pillars, and&mdash;last&mdash;up at the obelisks. Then Hastily plunge to the ocean. Come view all the sooner tomorrow That which, for centuries now, gods have let you enjoy: Italy's shoreline so long overgrown with moist reeds, elevations Somberly rising to shades cast by the bushes and trees. First were but few simple dwellings here, suddenly sunlight discovered Nations enlivening hills teeming with fortunate thieves. Onto this spot they assembled such plunder, in your eye so splendid All earth's remaining orb scarcely was worthy of note. You watched a world being born here, watched the same world sink to ruin, And from those ruins yet arise world again greater, perhaps. O may I long by your light now behold this Rome. May the Parc� Spin the fine thread of my life slowly, taking great care. O but come rushing the moment my love designated so sweetly. Wonderful! Sound already the chimes? &mdash;No, but I heard at least three. Thus, my dear muses, again you've beguiled the monotony for me. Of this long interval while I was apart from my love. All of you now, farewell! I'll be going now&mdash;don't be offended. For, though you're proud, you'll concede: Cupid in my heart comes first. </pre> <p>
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