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Erotica Romana

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<SPAN name="link2H_4_0022" id="link2H_4_0022"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> XXIII </h2> <pre xml:space="preserve"> However comely be strength, or free and undaunted comportment, Secrecy is for a man most important of all. Mighty subduer of cities, Discretion, O princess of nations, Goddess whom I adore, safely you've led me thus far. Now, though, what fate shall befall me? My frivolous muse has now opened &mdash;Cupid, the scamp&mdash;opens lips hitherto sealed so well. Difficult is it, alas, to conceal the shame of a monarch; Hide it can neither his crown, nor a tight Phrygian cap: Midas has asses ears! the first servant discovers&mdash;O horror! Shame of this secret so weighs, Midas unburdens his heart. Into the earth for safekeeping the servant must bury the story, Easing in this way the king: earth must conceal the tale. Reeds in a trice are sprouting and rustling in murmuring breezes: "Midas, o Midas the King&mdash;bears the ears of an ass!" Mine is a secret more pleasant, but even more difficult keeping: Out of abundance of heart eagerly speaketh my mouth. None of my ladyfriends dare I confide in, for they would but chide me; Nor any gentleman friend, lest he be rival to me. Rapture proclaim to the grove, to the echoing cliffs perorate it? One can do that if one's young, or if one's lonely enough. I to hexameters tell, in pentameters I will confide it: During the day she was joy, happiness all the night long. Courted by so many suitors, avoided the snares that were set her Now by one bolder than I, now by another in guile, Cleverly, daintily, always slipped past them, and sure of the byways, Comes to her lover's embrace, where he so eagerly waits. Luna! Don't rise yet. She's coming, and must not be seen by the neighbor! Breezes, rustle the leaves: muffle the sound of her feet. And as for you, little poems, o grow and flower, your blossoms Cradling themselves in the air, tepid and soft with love's breath. Wafting, betray to Quirites, as Midas' reeds did with cheap gossip, One happy couple in love, and their sweet secret, at last. </pre> <p>
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