Epigram 9.440

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Fugitive Love

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ἁ Κύπρις τὸν Ἔρωτα τὸν υἱέα μακρὸν ἐβώστρει:


εἴ τις ἐνὶ τριόδοισι πλανώμενον εἶδεν Ἔρωτα,

δραπετίδας ἐμός ἐστιν: ὁ μανυτὰς γέρας ἑξεῖ.

μισθός τοι τὸ φίλαμα τὸ Κύπριδος: ἢν δ᾽ ἀγάγῃς νιν,


οὐ γυμνὸν τὸ φίλαμα, τὺ δ᾽, ὦ ξένε, καὶ πλέον ἑξεῖς.

ἔστι δ᾽ ὁ παῖς περίσαμος: ἐν εἴκοσι πᾶσι μάθοις νιν.

χρῶτα μὲν οὐ λευκός, πυρὶ δ᾽ εἴκελος: ὄμματα δ᾽ αὐτοῦ

δριμύλα καὶ φλογόεντα: κακαὶ φρένες, ἁδὺ λάλημα:

οὐ γὰρ ἴσον νοέει καὶ φθέγγεται: ὡς μέλι φωνά


ἢν δὲ χολᾷ, νόος ἐστὶν ἀνάμερος: ἠπεροπευτάς,

οὐδὲν ἀλαθεύων, δόλιον βρέφος, ἄγρια παίσδει.

εὐπλόκαμον τὸ κάρανον ἔχει δ᾽ ἰταμὸν τὸ πρόσωπον.


μικκύλα μὲν τήνῳ τὰ χερύδρια, μακρὰ δὲ βάλλει:

βάλλει δ᾽ εἰς Ἀχέροντα καὶ Ἀίδεω βασιλῆα.


γυμνὸς μὲν τό γε σῶμα, νόος δ᾽ οἱ ἐμπεπύκασται:

καὶ πτερόεις ὅσον ὄρνις ἐφίπταται ἄλλοτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἄλλως

ἀνέρας ἠδὲ γυναῖκας, ἐπὶ σπλάγχνοις δὲ κάθηται

τόξον ἔχει μάλα βαιόν, ὑπὲρ τόξω δὲ βέλεμνον

τυτθὸν ἑοῖ τὸ βέλεμνον, ἐς αἰθέρα δ᾽ ἄχρι φορεῖται:


καὶ χρύσεον περὶ νῶτα φαρέτριον ἔνδοθι δ᾽ ἐντὶ

τοὶ πικροὶ κάλαμοι, τοῖς πολλάκι κἀμὲ τιτρώσκει.

πάντα μὲν ἄγρια, πάντα: πολὺ πλέον ἁ δαῒς αὐτῷ

βαιὰ λαμπὰς ἐοῖσα, τὸν Ἃλιον αὐτὸν ἀναίθει.

ἢν τὺ γ᾽ ἕλῃς τῆνον, δήσας ἄγε, μηδ᾽ ἐλεήσῃς:


κἢν ποτ᾽ ἴδῃς κλαίοντα, φυλάσσεο μή σε πλανήσῃ:

κἢν γελάῃ, τύ νιν ἕλκε: καὶ ἢν ἐθέλῃ σε φιλᾶσαι,

φεῦγε: κακὸν τὸ φίλαμα, τὰ χείλεα φάρμακον ἐντί.

ἢν δὲ λέγῃ, Λάβε ταῦτα, χαρίζομαι ὅσσα μοι ὅπλα,

μὴ τὺ θίγῃς πλάνα δῶρα: τὰ γάρ πυρὶ πάντα βέβαπται.

— Paton edition

Cvpris cried loudly her lost son Love. " If any-
one hath seen Love straying in the cross-roads,
he is my fugitive child, and the informer shall be
rewarded. The reward is a kiss from Cypris ; and
if you bring him, not a mere kiss, stranger, but
something besides. The boy is easily recognisable ;
you could tell him among twenty. His complexion
is not pale, but like to fire. His eyes are piercing
and aflame. Evil is his heart, but sweet his speech,
for what he has in his mind he speaks not. His
voice is like honey, but if he grow wrath his spirit
cannot be tamed. A cozener he is, never speaking
the truth ; a cunning child, and the games he plays
are savage. Plenty of hair on his head, and he has
a most forward face. His hands are tiny, but they
shoot far ; they shoot as far as Acheron and the King
of Hades. Naked is his body, but his mind is wrapped
up well. Like a winged bird he flies to one man and
woman after another, and perches on their vitals.
He has a very small bow, and on the bow an arrow ;
little is his arrow, but it flies even to heaven. He
bears a golden quiver on his back, and in it are the
bitter shafts with which he often wounds even me.
All about him is savage, all, and worst of all his
torch ; it is but a little brand, and sets fire to the
Sun himself. If you catch him, bring him bound
and have no mercy on him. If you see him crying,
mind he does not take you in ; and if he smiles, drag
him ; and if he wants to kiss you, run away, for his
kiss is evil and his lips are poison. And if he says
'Take these, I give you all my weapons,' touch not
the deceitful gifts, for they are all dipped in fire."

— Paton edition

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