highlyeccentric: Ravenclaw: how do you spell "unfuckable" in Latin? (Ravenclaw - unfuckable in latin)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Nothing pleases me except what will continue to please me,
And nothing displeases me except what will go on displeasing me:
If you need convincing of this, Alexis will be my witness.
And the things which please or displease me about you
Certainly do so for good reason.
Does someone ask what pleases or displeases me in you?
Your appearance is pleasing because it is proper and handsome;
So too your delicate cheeks, blond hair, and modest mouth.
Your voice, sounding as sweetly as a nightingale’s,
Caresses and soothes our ears.
It could be a boy’s or a girl’s;
You will be another Orpheus, unless age injures it –
Age which distinguishes girls from boys,
When the cheek is clothed with the first down of manhood
And a strong nose enhances the face and appearance.
Your bright, clear eyes touch my breast and heart,
For I believe those crystalline lights truly are a double star.
Your milky flesh and ivory chest match them;
The touch of your snow-white body sports with my hands.
There are things which ought to please me and others,
Especially since licentious youth does not control you
Or condemn the godlike joining of your limbs.
All these please me: I commend each of them to myself
I praise them because you refuse to be Jove’s Ganymede.
And I pray and commend that you not be corrupted in loving.
But I do not praise your rude manners.
Certainly a boy is bad who has such arrogant ways,
And you scarcely think anyone worth a sidelong glance.
Sometimes you greet a man with barely the corners of your mouth
Even when he has said hello to you first.
Maybe you think that you rule the world all by yourself
Or that you stand out from all other boys,
But Narcissus, who liveson in fable, should warn you:
His example endures so the proud may come to their senses.
The excellences of the whole world are not yours alone;
You will not, all by yourself, lord it over the entire globe.
The earth gives birth to many bushes, many lilies,
Many violets, and lovely flowers.
You are not the only pure boy, nor the only handsome one.
There are many who are shaped with equal or greater favor,
Whose ivory coolness also commends them to us.
You are chaste, but coldness has made many chaste.
You are handsome, but nature creates many handsome men.
Don’t let boasting be one of your gifts from nature;
Don’t take credit for what nature has made.
What she has given you for this hour she may give to many,
And Nature even makes some donkeys better than others.
Your neck swells like a bull’s, and you swagger as if you were the best;
This is what I condemn, the only thing I reproach you for.
It is unbecoming in you; this is what displeases me in you.
I hate your disdain, your intractable heart;
I hate a heard heart, along with rude manners;
I hate pompous young men, hard as flint.
A pliant tree is pleasing; I hate an inflexible oak.
I love the humble and condemn the unbending neck.
If you wish, therefore, to please me, my boy,
Get rid of your airs and cast off such disdain;
Smile at people who smile; reply to those who deserve a reply;
Learn to bend your head and to turn your eyes;
Learn to rule your eyes and to see.
You are human; you shouldn’t have a swollen ox’s neck.
Let bulls gaze with wild eyes, not men.
Boy, be pliant; let the bull’s neck stiffen.
You should live like a man, not like a wild beast.
You put too much confidence in your appearance.
Believe me, slippery age will take your looks away from you,
For it hangs over us that flesh’s seductiveness will pass.
When glory and beauty with which you swell, o flower of flesh,
When these wither on the spot as you become something else,
When your skin becomes wrinkled and your flesh really decays,
When a cough racks you, when your lungs melt into fluid,
When your decayed liver wages intestine battles:
Nature will take away what she has given you.
Therefore, in the future be not proud of your savage ways,
And do not rage, boy over the rewards of a beauty which will fade.
If you wish for yourself as I do, give an ear to our verses.
See, I have told you what pleases or displeases me in you.
Let the reader judge whether my complaint is just.
Indeed it is a just complaint, truly justified in complaining.
But you will make up for all this if you ammend yourself.

(Trans. Thomas Stehling, in Medieval Latin Poems of Male Love and Friendship (New York: Garland, 1984) pp. 38-43)


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