Would that all of time may, in this way, keep his prosperity and the gift of wealth on a straight course, and bring forgetfulness of troubles. Indeed he might remember in what kind of battles of war he stood his ground with an enduring soul, when, by the gods’ devising, they found honor such as no other Greek can pluck, a proud garland of wealth. But now he has gone to battle in the manner of Philoctetes; and under compulsion even a haughty man fawned on him for his friendship. They say that the god-like heroes went to bring from Lemnos that man afflicted with a wound, the archer son of Poeas, who sacked the city of Priam and brought an end to the toils of the Danaans; he went with a weak body, but it was fated. (tr. Diane Arnson Svarlien)
Primitias egomet lacrimarum et caedis acerbae,
ante tubas ferrumque, tuli, dum deside cura
credo sinus fidos altricis et ubera mando.
quidni ego? narrabat servatum fraude parentem
insontesque manus. en quam ferale putemus
abiurasse sacrum et Lemni gentilibus unam
immunem furiis! haec illa (et creditis) ausa,
haec pietate potens solis abiecit in arvis,
non regem dominumque, alienos impia partus,
hoc tantum, silvaeque infamis tramite liquit,
quem non anguis atrox (quid enim hac opus, ei mihi, leti
mole fuit?), tantum caeli violentior aura
impulsaeque noto frondes cassusque valeret
(Statius, Theb. 6.146-159)
I bore the first fruit of tears and untimely death before trumpet and sword, as caring but lazily I believed in a nurse’s trusty bosom and handed over my suckling. But why not? She told me how she had saved her father by cunning and kept her hands innocent. Look at her, this woman who we are to think abjured the deadly covenant, alone immune from the madness of her fellow Lemnians; this woman who thus dared (and you believe her), this woman, so strong in her devotion, undutifully cast off in a lonely field – I say not king or master but another’s child, just that, and left him on a track in an ill-famed wood. No frightful snake – what need, alas, for such a mass of death? – but merely a breeze blowing strong or leaves shaken by the wind or idle terror might have been enough to cause his end. (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)
Sertorius had a white fawn that was tame and allowed to move about freely. When this fawn was not in sight Sertorius considered it a bad omen. He became low-spirited and abstained from fighting; nor did he mind the enemy’s scoffing at him about the fawn. When she made her appearance running through the woods Sertorius would run to meet her, and, as though he were consecrating the first-fruits of a sacrifice to her, he would at once direct a hail of javelins at the enemy. (tr. Horace White)
And when Hephaestus heard the grievous tale*, he went his way to his smithy, pondering evil in the deep of his heart, and set on the anvil block the great anvil and forged bonds which might not be broken or loosed, that the lovers might bide fast where they were. But when he had fashioned the snare in his wrath against Ares, he went to his chamber where lay his bed, and everywhere round about the bed-posts he spread the bonds, and many too were hung from above, from the roof-beams, fine as spiders’ webs, so that no one even of the blessed gods could see them, so exceeding craftily were they fashioned. But when he had spread all his snare about the couch, he made as though he would go to Lemnos, that well-built citadel, which is in his eyes far the dearest of all lands.
* of the minstrel Demodocus, who sang how Aphrodite cheated on Hephaestus with Ares.
And if one should suppose that he masturbates, he will penetrate a male or female slave because the hands, brought to the genitals, are its servants. But if he should not have servants, he will suffer a loss due to the release of his sperm to no purpose. And I know of a certain slave who imagined he gave a hand job to his master, and he became the tutor and nurse of his children. For he held in his hands the genitals of his master, which are significant of the children of that man. And, moreover, I know of <a certain man> who imagined that he was given a hand job by his master and, being bound to a pillar, he received many lashes, and in this way was he ‘pulled tight’ by his master. (tr. Daniel E. Harris-McCoy)
Ut mihi tu claudis, mater stomachosa, fenestram,
sic tibi claudatur cunnus, iniqua parens!
id tibi erit gravius, caelebs videare licebit,
quam tibi si caeli ianua clausa foret.
(Antonio Beccadelli, Hermaphroditus 2.4)
Just as you close the window against me, ill-tempered mother,
so may your cunt be closed up, cruel parent.
Though you seem to be single, that will be worse for you
than if the gates of heaven were closed against you. (tr. Holt Parker)
A-a-a-a-h! Cephallenian stranger, I wish this pain would go right through your chest! Ah, ah, alas! Alas once more! O you two generals, [Agamemnon, O Menelaus, if only instead of me] may you feed this sickness for an equal time! Ah me! O death, death, why can you never come, though I do not cease to call you thus each day? O my son, O my noble son, take me and burn me with this fire that is invoked as Lemnian, noble one! I also once consented to do this to the son of Zeus in return for those weapons which you now are guarding! What do you say, boy? What do you say? Why are you silent? Where are you, my son? (tr. Hugh Lloyd-Jones)