Illam Sirenis stupefactus cantibus aequans
efficior demens alter Ulixes ego,
et qui non poteram tantas evadere moles
nescius in scopulos et vada caeca feror.
quis referat gressus certa sub lege moventes
suspensosque novis plausibus ire pedes?
grande erat inflexos gradibus numerare capillos,
grande erat in niveo pulla colore coma.
urebant oculos stantes duraeque papillae
et quas astringens clauderet una manus.
ah, quantum mentem stomachi iunctura movebat
atque sub exhausto pectore pingue femur!
terrebar teneros astringere fortiter artus:
visa per amplexus ossa sonare meos.
‘grandia’ clamabat ‘tua nunc me brachia laedunt:
non tolerant pondus subdita membra tuum.’
dirigui, quantusque fuit calor ille recessit
et nata est venae causa pudenda meae.
non lac sic durum permixta coagula reddunt
nec liquidi mollis spuma liquoris erit.
succubui, fateor, Graiae tunc nescius artis,
succubui Tusca simplicitate senex.
qua defensa suo superata est Hectore Troia
unum non poterat fraus superare senem?
muneris iniuncti curam studiumque reliqui
deditus imperiis, saeve Cupido, tuis.
nec memorare pudet tali me vulnere victum:
subditus his flammis Iuppiter ipse fuit.
set mihi prima quidem nox affuit ac sua solvit
munera, grandaevo vix subeunda viro;
proxima destituit vires vacuusque recessit
ardor et in Venerem segnis ut ante fui.
illa velut proprium repetens infesta tributum
instat et increpitat: ‘debita redde mihi!’
sed nihil hic clamor, nil sermo mitis agebat:
quod natura negat, reddere nemo potest.
(Maximianus, El. 5.19-54)
Stunned by her songs, I would compare her to the Sirens,
and while mad I became the new Ulysses,
and I, who was unable to evade such reefs,
was borne off-guard to unseen shoals and rocks.
Who can describe steps moving to a steady beat
that went with fresh applause and arching feet?
It was intense to count her layered waves of hair;
it was intense—dark hair on snowy skin…
Her breasts were standing firm and burning up my eyes,
and with one hand each could be cupped while squeezed.
Ah, how her stomach (joined below by fleshy thighs…)
and her exhausted chest aroused my spirit!
I was scared squeezing her frail limbs aggressively;
bones seemed to crack because of my embraces.
She shouted, “Now your massive arms are hurting me!
My limbs can’t stand to be beneath your bulk!”
I froze, and what had been great lust for her receded,
and my old pecker was a cause for shame.
The well-stirred rennet does not make so firm a curd,
nor will there be light foam on flowing fluid.
I yielded, I confess, unschooled about Greek tricks;
I yielded, an old man with Tuscan dullness.
Couldn’t deceit, through which Hector-guarded Troy
was beaten, triumph over one old man?
I lost concern and fondness for the ordered duties,
cruel Cupid, while enthralled by your commands.
It’s no disgrace recalling loss from such a wound—
Jove was himself subjected to these lusts.
Though my first night had come and paid its pending debt
(one barely handled by an ancient man),
the next one sapped my strength, and hollow passion shrank,
and I was sluggish, as before, at sex.
The hostile girl, as if demanding her own tax,
pursues and snarls, “Return what’s owed to me!”
But here no bluster, no sweet talk was motivating;
what nature cancels, no one can restore.
(tr. A.M. Juster)