Pereat

waakhond

O pereat quicumque legit viridesque smaragdos
et niveam Tyrio murice tingit ovem.
addit avaritiae causas et Coa puellis
vestis et e rubro lucida concha mari.
haec fecere malas; hinc clavim ianua sensit
et coepit custos liminis esse canis.
sed pretium si grande feras, custodia victa est
nec prohibent claves et canis ipse tacet.
heu quicumque dedit formam caelestis avarae,
quale bonum multis attulit ille malis!
hinc fletus rixaeque sonant, haec denique causa
fecit ut infamis nunc deus erret Amor.
(Tibullus 2.4.27-38)

Oh let whoever gathers the deep green emeralds perish,
or dyes the snowy fleece with Tyrian purples.
Silks of Cos and bright pearls from the Red Sea
are the cause of greed in girls.
They make them wicked: because of them the door
knows the key, and the dog’s set to guard the threshold.
But if you bear great gifts the watchman’s conquered,
keys don’t prevent it, the very dog is silent.
Ah, whichever god gave beauty to the greedy girl,
what good he brought wholly to grief!
From it weeping and squabbling rises, in short it’s why
the God of Love wanders now in infamy.
(tr. Tony Kline)

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