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



Credere quis possit? falcem quoque - turpe fateri -
   de digitis fures surripuere meis.
nec movet amissi tam me iactura pudorque,
   quam praebent iustos altera tela metus:
quae si perdidero, patria mutabor, et olim
   ille tuus civis, Lampsace, Gallus ero.

Who could believe my words? 'Tis shame to confess that the sickle
Yon thief-folk have availed e'en from my fingers to thieve.
Nor doth its loss so much affect my mind or dishonour
As the just, natural dread other my weapons to lose,
Which lost shall I stand mulcted of country, and he that was erewhile
Son of the city to thee, Lampsacus! Gaul shall become.

Who could believe ('tis a shameful confession!) that the thieves have even purloined the sickle from my very fingers? nor do the disgrace and loss so much affect me as the well-grounded fears of losing other weapons. Which if I lose, I shall be expatriated; and he formerly thy citizen, O Lampsacus, will become a Gaul.[1]

[1. The word Gallus means one born in Gaul, and also an emasculated priest of Cybele. Therefore, were the thieves to steal Priapus's phallus, which was often used as a cudgel against garden robbers, he would become a Gallus. Martial relates that a Tuscan soothsayer whilst sacrificing a goat to Bacchus ordered a rustic who was assisting him to castrate the animal. The haruspex, busily intent on cutting the goat's throat, exposed to his assistant's view an immense hernia of his own, which the countryman seized and cut off by mistake, thus converting the Tuscan into a Gaul (Gallus). The priests of Cybele (who were all castrated) were called Galli from Gallus, a river in Phrygia, which turned to madness those who drank of its waters.]

Next: 56. Thou too dost mock me, Thief! and the infamous