Lena

Joachim Beuckelaer, Bordeel, 1562
Joachim Beuckelaer, Bordeel (1562)

Abi, vorax anus, tuis cum blandulis
istis susurris; cognita est mihi satis
superque vestra (serius licet) fides.
non sum ille ego in quem impune vobis ludere
fas iugiter sit feminis rapacibus.
ut ut piget me tam diu fallaciis
vestris retentum, dum miser dari reor
dulces mihi fructus amoris unice,
quos comperi post, cum pudore maxumo,
illi datos, et illi et illi, et omnibus
ementibus pernicioso munere
adulterarum coitus foedissimos!
viden ut audax me rogat, tamquam inscium
eius probrosi criminis? recede, abi,
abi, impudica, abi, scelesta et impia,
impura lena, venditrix libidinum,
meorum amorum prostitutrix lurida.
ut ira suadet unguibus nocentia
proscindere ora! ut gliscit impetus ferox
inferre canis crinibus truces manus!
impunis anne abibit haec venefica?
iam iam cupidini morem geram meo,
et torva lumina eruam isti primulum,
linguam deinde demetam dicaculam,
quae me misellum effecit, et pessumdedit,
et perdidit, nullumque prorsus reddidit.
quid me, sodales, detinetis pessumi?
dimittite; est certum obsequi iustissimo
meo furori; debitas poenas luat
mihi scelesta. an huic, rogo, favebitis,
fortasse nescii quam inexpiabile
scelus patretis hanc iuvantes impiam,
quam saepe nocte repperi obscurissima
sacros cadaverum eruentem pulveres,
diroque carmine evocantem pallidas
umbras ab Orci tristibus silentiis?
haec noxio infantes tenellos fascino
interficit. discedite, ut poenas luat.
at si meae vos nil preces iustae movent,
in pessimam crucem recedat pessima;
non usque habebit vos paratos subsides.
(Ludovico Ariosto, Carm. 1.21)

Enough, you insatiable old crow! Enough with those wheedling whispers of yours! I know your honesty well enough, too well, though it’s too late. I’m not the kind of man that a greedy woman like you is free to dupe again and again and get away with it. How it disgusts me that for so long I was held in thrall by your tricks, all the while thinking in my misery that the sweet enjoyments of a love were being given to me alone, when, as I later found out with the greatest shame, they were given to this guy and that and another, to everybody who buys vile intercourse with adulterous women at a ruinous price! Do you see what nerve she has to ask me, as if I were unaware of her disgraceful behavior? Get out of my sight. Go. Go, you slut. Go, you infamy and desecration, slag, pander, peddler of lusts, sallow prostitutor of my love. How anger urges me to rend your guilty face with my nails! How a wild impulse swells in me to lay violent hands on your pasty white hair! Or will this witch get away unpunished? At this moment I’m on the verge of following my instinct; first, I’ll rip out those cruel eyes of hers, then I’ll cut off the smart-talking tongue that has made me miserable, has ruined me, destroyed me, has made me an utter wreck. Why do you hold me back, disloyal friends? Let me go. I’m determined to give vent to my justified rage. Let the infamous woman pay the penalty owed to me. Or will you, I ask, support her, ignorant perhaps of what an unpardonable crime you commit by helping this desecrator? Often I have found her in darkest night digging up the sacred dust of dead bodies and, with fearful incantations, summoning pale shades from the gloomy silence of Orcus. This woman kills tender little infants with her evil spells. Leave me so that she may pay the penalty. But if my just prayers don’t move you at all, may the damnable woman drop into the deepest damnation. She will not have you at the ready to help her all the time. (tr. Dennis Looney & D. Mark Possanza)

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