Ἁ Κύπρις θήλεια γυναικομανῆ φλόγα βάλλει,
ἄρσενα δ’ αὐτὸς Ἔρως ἵμερον ἁνιοχεῖ.
ποῖ ῥέψω; ποτὶ παῖδ’ ἢ ματέρα; φαμὶ δὲ καὐτὰν
Κύπριν ἐρεῖν· “νικᾷ τὸ θρασὺ παιδάριον.”
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 12.86)

Lady Venus generates our lust
for females; Cupid pricks desire for males.
Which shall I turn to? Even Venus must
admit her cheeky little brat prevails.
(tr. Daryl Hine)



Πταίης μοι κώνωψ, ταχὺς ἄγγελος, οὔασι δ’ ἄκροις
Ζηνοφίλας ψαύσας προσψιθύριζε τάδε·
“ἄγρυπνος μίμνει σε· σὺ δ’, ὦ λήθαργε φιλούντων,
εὕδεις.” εἶα, πέτευ· ναί, φιλόμουσε, πέτευ·
ἥσυχα δὲ φθέγξαι, μὴ καὶ σύγκοιτον ἐγείρας
κινήσῃς ἐπ’ ἐμοὶ ζηλοτύπους ὀδύνας.
ἢν δ’ ἀγάγῃς τὴν παῖδα, δορᾷ στέψω σε λέοντος,
κώνωψ, καὶ δώσω χειρὶ φέρειν ῥόπαλον.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.152)

Fly for me, mosquito: be my swift messenger. Alight on the rim of Zenophila’s ear and whisper this: “He is awake, and waits for you; but you forget those who love you, and sleep.” Up, fly! Yes, musical one, fly! But speak quietly, so you don’t wake the man who is sleeping with her and arouse in him pangs of jealousy against me. If you bring the girl, I will hood you with a lion’s pelt, mosquito, and give you a club to carry in your hand*.

* The mosquito would thus be attired like Heracles. While other instances of mosquitoes imitating Heracles are (not surprisingly) unknown, Love was sometimes depicted wearing a lion skin.

(tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller, with the latter’s note)



Ὀξυβόαι κώνωπες, ἀναιδέες αἵματος ἀνδρῶν
σίφωνες, νυκτὸς κνώδαλα διπτέρυγα,
βαιὸν Ζηνοφίλαν, λίτομαι, πάρεθ’ ἥσυχον ὕπνῳ
εὕδειν, τἀμὰ δ’, ἰδού, σαρκοφαγεῖτε μέλη.
καίτοι πρὸς τί μάτην αὐδῶ; καὶ θῆρες ἄτεγκτοι
τέρπονται τρυφερῷ χρωτὶ χλιαινόμενοι.
ἀλλ’ ἔτι νῦν προλέγω, κακὰ θρέμματα, λήγετε τόλμης,
ἢ γνώσεσθε χερῶν ζηλοτύπων δύναμιν.
(Meleager, Anth. Gr. 5.151)

Shrill-voiced mosquitoes, shameless suckers of men’s blood, night’s winged predators, I beg you, let Zenophila sleep a little in peace. Here: gorge yourselves on my limbs! But why am I wasting my words? Pitiless beasts also love to be warmed by her tender flesh. But I now forewarn you, evil creatures: do not defy me, or you will feel the strength of my jealous hands. (tr. William Roger Paton, revised by Michael A. Tueller)