Sacred Texts  Classical Paganism  Sacred Sexuality  1st Lines  Index  Previous  Next 


To Priapus

Ludens haec ego teste te, Priape,
horto carmina digna, non libello,
scripsi non nimium laboriose.
nec Musas tamen, ut solent poetae,
ad non virgineum locum vocavi.
nam sensus mihi corque defuisset
castas, Pierium chorum, sorores
auso ducere mentulam ad Priapi.
ergo quicquid id est, quod otiosus
templi parietibus tui notavi,
in partem accipias bonam, rogamus.

In play, Priapus (thou canst testify),
Songs, fit for garden not for book-work, I
Wrote and none over-care applied thereto.
No Muses dared I (like the verseful crew)
Invite to visit such unvirginal site.
For heart and senses did forbid me quite
To set the choir Pïérian, chaste and fair,
Before Priapus' tool--such deed to dare.
Then whatsoe'er I wrote when idly gay,
And on this Temple-wall for note I lay,
Take in good part--such is the prayer I pray.

For pastime, and with little care, have I written these verses, thee attesting,[1] O Priapus--verses worthy a garden,[2] not a little book! Nor have I, as poets are wont, invoked the Muses to this unvirginal spot. For I had neither mind nor heart for the emprise, to bring the chaste sisters, the chorus of Pïérides, to the mentule[3] of Priapus. Therefore, whatever it is I have jotted in an idle hour on the walls of thy temple, take it in good part, I pray thee.

[1. Possibly with a punning allusion to testicles.
2. A double entendre intended to be conveyed by the word 'garden'.
3. The male member--mentula.]

Next: 2. Darkly might I to thee say: Oh give me for ever and ever