Magnum iter ad doctas proficisci cogor Athenas
ut me longa gravi solvat amore via.
crescit enim assidue spectando cura puellae:
ipse alimenta sibi maxima praebet amor.
omnia sunt temptata mihi, quacumque fugari
possit: at ex omni me premit ipse deus.
vix tamen aut semel admittit, cum saepe negarit:
seu venit, extremo dormit amicta toro.
unum erit auxilium: mutatis Cynthia terris
quantum oculis, animo tam procul ibit amor.
nunc agite, o socii, propellite in aequora navem,
remorumque pares ducite sorte vices,
iungiteque extremo felicia lintea malo:
iam liquidum nautis aura secundat iter.
Romanae turres et vos valeatis, amici,
qualiscumque mihi tuque, puella, vale!
ergo ego nunc rudis Hadriaci vehar aequoris hospes,
cogar et undisonos nunc prece adire deos.
deinde per Ionium vectus cum fessa Lechaeo
sedarit placida vela phaselus aqua,
quod superest, sufferre, pedes, properate laborem,
Isthmos qua terris arcet utrumque mare.
inde ubi Piraei capient me litora portus,
scandam ego Theseae bracchia longa viae.
illic vel stadiis animum emendare Platonis
incipiam aut hortis, docte Epicure, tuis;
persequar aut studium linguae, Demosthenis arma,
librorumque tuos, docte Menandre, sales;
aut certe tabulae capient mea lumina pictae,
sive ebore exactae, seu magis aere, manus.
aut spatia annorum aut longa intervalla profundi
lenibunt tacito vulnera nostra situ:
seu moriar, fato, non turpi fractus amore;
atque erit illa mihi mortis honesta dies.
I’m compelled to set out on the grand tour to learnéd Athens
so that that long road might free me from love’s burden.
For my care for my girl grows continuously as I look at her:
love itself provides its own greatest nourishment.
Everything’s been tried by me, in whichever way it could be
banished: but out of everyone, the god himself besets me.
But she hardly receives me, or once when she’s refused many times before:
or if she comes, she sleeps covered on the edge of the bed.
There is one remedy: when the land’s changed, Cynthia will be as far from
my eyes as love travels from my heart.
Now let’s go, my friends, to launch a boat upon the level sea,
and draw out by lot the equal places at the oar,
and hoist the happy sails to the very top of the mast:
now the wind helps sailors along their watery path.
Farewell, Roman towers, and farewell, my friends,
and you too, my darling, whatever you were like to me, farewell!
So now I’ll be carried along as a new guest of the level Adriatic,
and now I’ll be forced to approach with a prayer gods who make the waves roar.
Then when my yacht has been carried through the Ionian sea
and rested its tired sails in the calm waters at Lechaeum,
for what remains, keep going, feet, to endure the work,
where the Isthmus wards off one sea and another from the land.
Then when the shores of Piraeus’s harbour capture me,
I’ll ascend the long arms of Theseus’s roads.
There I might even begin to repair my mind at Plato’s Academy
or in your garden, learnéd Epicurus;
or I’ll pursue the study of language, Demosthenes’s weapon,
and the salty wit of your books, learned Menander,
or certainly painted pictures will capture my eyes,
whether in the ivory of a pointed hand, or more frequently in bronze.
Either the length of the years or the long spaces of the deep
will heal my wounds in a silent heart:
if I die, I will be broken by fate, not shameful love;
and that day of death will be an honour for me.