TWAS thou, oh, yes, I mind me well, ’twas thou, Græcinus, who wast wont to say a man could never love two women at a time. ’Tis, then, through thee that I have been deceivèd, through thee that, all defenceless and unarmed, I've fallen into the snare, for here in me--oh, scoundrel that I am--thou dost behold a man in love with two fair charmers at a time. Lovely are both and both in love with dress. In artifice I scarcely know which one the other doth surpass. Now doth the first the second one outshine, and now the second doth eclipse the first; yes, sometimes one, and then, anon, the other, taketh my fancy most. My heart, like to a barque tossed by opposing winds, veers sometimes hither, sometimes thither, between these rival loves. Oh, wherefore, Erycina, wherefore dost thou everlastingly increase my torments. Did not one mistress suffice to keep me busy? Wherefore to the trees add leaves, stars to the starry sky, or water to the boundless deep?
Howbeit 'twere better so, than live a loveless life. The life that scorns delights and lives laborious days I'll leave my enemies. Let them sleep soundly in their lonely beds, lie in the middle and stretch themselves to their heart's content. As for myself, I'd liefer cruel love should break my downy slumbers; I would not be my bed's sole burden, no, not I. Let my mistress, without let or hindrance, ease me of love's pangs if she alone be equal to the task. If she be not, then I'll have two of them. My body's thin, but strong; it lacks not strength, but flesh. Besides, Love's joys my prowess will sustain. Never a woman have I disappointed yet, and often after battling all the night, the morn hath found me ready to
renew the fray. Happy he who dies in the lists of Love. I pray the gods that such may be my end. The soldier, if he will, may oppose his breast to the foemen's spears, and buy undying glory with his blood. The miser may roam the world in search of wealth, and when he's shipwrecked, let his lying mouth choke with the seas his vessel's keel hath ploughed. Be it my lot softly to fade away doing Love's service, to die in the very crisis of the fray. And may some gentle soul, shedding a tear upon my grave, exclaim "in sooth thy death did well become thy life."
Tu mihi, tu certe, memini, Graecine, negabas