Amphibolos

eunuch

Τίνας ἂν εἴποι λόγους εὐνοῦχος ἐρῶν;

Ἓν ἔτι λοιπὸν Ἔρωτι λείπεται τὸ καὶ τοὺς τεθνηκότας ἀλλήλων παρασκευάζειν ἐρᾶν. νεκρὸς γὰρ ὢν καὶ αὐτὸς ἡδονὰς οὐ διέφυγον, ἀλλ’ ἤδη γέγονα τοῖς ἐκείνου βέλεσι θήραμα. ὑπηρέτης κατέστην αὐτοῦ πράττειν ὃ βούλεται μὴ δυνάμενος. ὢ πόθου πέρας οὐκ ἔχοντος. κἂν γὰρ ἀποτύχω, γέγονα δυστυχής, κἂν τύχω, πάλιν εἰμὶ δυστυχέστερος ἄγειν οὐκ ἔχων εἰς πρᾶξιν τὸ τῆς προαιρέσεως. οὐκ ἔστιν, ὦ Ἔρως, ἐν ἐμοὶ τελεῖσθαι τὰ σά. μάτην ἡμῖν ἐπαφῆκας τὰ βέλη καὶ τὴν φαρέτραν ἐκένωσας καὶ πρὸς γάμον ἠνάγκασας σπουδάζειν τὸν οὐκ εἰδότα συνάπτεσθαι. οὐκ ἔστι συνάγειν ἃ μὴ συνελθεῖν ἡ φύσις ἀφῆκε. προῆλθον ἀνὴρ καὶ γέγονα διὰ τέχνης ἀμφίβολος ἄνθρωπος καὶ μὴ πράττων ὡς ἄνθρωπος μόνον πρὸς τὸ νοσεῖν κατέστην ἀνήρ. τὸ γὰρ πράττειν ἀφῄρημαι. οὔτε μένειν εἴασεν ὅπερ ὑπῆρχον ἡ Τύχη οὔτε μεταβεβλημένον ἀφῆκεν ὁ Ἔρως. ἤκουον καὶ πρώην ἐρώτων καὶ παραδόξους τούτους ἐνόμιζον. νῦν δὲ σμικροὶ πάντες πρὸς τὸν ἐμὸν παράλογον κατέστησαν ἔρωτα. ἥλω Πασιφάη ποτὲ ταύρου καὶ τέχνην ἔσχε πρὸς τὴν μίξιν ἐπίκουρον. ἐγὼ δὲ πάντα παρὰ τῆς φύσεως κομισάμενος ἐκ τέχνης ἠτύχησα.  ἀλλ’, ὦ Ἔρως, ἢ παῦσον τὸ πάθος ἢ τὴν φύσιν μετάβαλε. τούτων γὰρ πέφυκεν ἕτερον ἑτέρῳ πολέμιον.
(Libanius, Progymn. 11.26)

What words would a eunuch say when he falls in love?

One thing yet remains for Love: to make even the dead love each other; for though being a corpse, even I myself did not escape sexual pleasures, but have now become quarry to his arrows. I became his servant, though unable to do what he wishes. O, for desire having no fulfillment! For if I miss my target, I have become unfortunate, and if I hit it, I am again more unfortunate, not being able to bring into action the result of my choice. It is not, O Love, in my power to fulfill your tasks. In vain you shot your arrows at me, emptied your quiver, and compelled me to be eager for marriage, a man who does not know how to have intercourse. It is not possible to bring together what nature has not allowed to come together. I was born a man, and I have become an ambiguous human being through craftsmanship; and not acting as a human being I have become a man only in regard to suffering sickness; for I have been robbed of the ability to act. Neither did Fortune permit me to remain as I was, nor did Love release me once transformed. Until recently I would hear of love affairs and consider them paradoxical. But now all of them have become trivial in comparison to my unexpected love. Pasiphae once succumbed to a bull and had craftsmanship to aid her in sexual intercourse. But I, though having received everything from nature, became unlucky because of craftsmanship. But, O Love, either stop this passion or transform my nature; for one of these is naturally hostile to the other. (tr. Craig A. Gibson)

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