Propertius, Tibullus and Ovid


Propertius 1.1

Cynthia prima suis miserum me cepit ocellis,

contactum nullis ante cupidinibus.

tum mihi constantis deiecit lumina fastus

et caput impositis pressit Amor pedibus,

donec me docuit casta odisse puellas 

improbus, et nullo vivere consilio.

et mihi iam toto furor hic non deficit anno,

cum tamen adversos cogor habere deos.

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Propertius 1.1

Cynthia with those eyes of hers was the first to capture wretched me,

not having been touched by any desires before.

Then love cast down my gaze of immoveable arrogance,

having placed its feet on my head pressed down upon it,

until the wicked boy taught me to hate chaste girls 

and to live with no direction.

And now this craziness has not left me for a whole year

when I am forced, however, to have Gods opposing me. 

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Propertius 1.1

Milanion nullos fugiendo, Tulle, labores

saevitiam durae contudit Iasidos.

nam modo Partheniis amens errabat in antris,

ibat et hirsutas ille videre feras;

ille etiam Hylaei percussus vulnere rami

saucius Arcadiis rupibus ingemuit.

ergo velocem potuit domuisse puellam:

tantum in amore preces et bene facta valent.

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Propertius 1.1

Milanion, by fleeing no labours, Tullus,

crushed the ferocity of the harsh daughter of Iasus.

For he once used to wander in Parthenian caves, out of his mind,

and he was often travelling to see hairy wild beasts;

He was even struck by a wound from a Hylaen branch

and wounded he groaned on the Arcadian rocks.

Therefore he was able to tame the swift girl:

prayers and good deeds are so powerful in love.

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Propertius 1.1

in me tardus Amor non ullas cogitat artes,

nec meminit notas, ut prius, ire vias.

at vos, deductae quibus est fallacia lunae 

et labor in magicis sacra piare focis,

en agedum dominae mentem convertite nostrae,

et facite illa meo palleat ore magis!

tunc ego crediderim vobis et sidera et amnes

posse Cytinaeis ducere carminibus. 

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Propertius 1.1

For my part, slow loves thinks up no stratagems,

and does not remember, as before, to traverse well- known paths.

But you, who have the trick of drawing down the moon 

and the job of perfoming sacred rites in magical fireplaces,

come now and turn the mind of my mistress 

and make her grow paler than my face.

Then I might believe that you can charm both the stars and the streams

with your Carthinean spells.

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Propertius 1.1

et vos, qui sero lapsum revocatis, amici,

quaerite non sani pectoris auxilia.

fortiter et ferrum saevos patiemur et ignes,

sit modo libertas quae velit ira loqui.

ferte per extremas gentes et ferte per undas,

qua non ulla meum femina norit iter.

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Propertius 1.1

And you, friends, who call me back when I have fallen,

look for aids for a sick heart.

Bravely I will suffer both iron and fierce fires,

if only there is freedom to speak what my anger wishes to say.

Carry me through the furthest tribes and carry me over the waves,

where no woman might no my journey.

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Propertius 1.1

vos remanante, quibus facili deus annuit aure,

sitis et in tuto semper amore pares.

in me nostra Venus noctes excertet amaras,

et nullo vacuus tempore defit Amor.

hoc, moneo, vitate malum: sua quemque moretur

cura, neque assueto mutet amore locum.

quod si quid monitis tardas adverterit aures,

heu referet quanto verba dolore mea!

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Propertius 1.1

You remain, you to whom the God nods assent with an easy ear,

may you always be equally matched in a safe love.

For my part, Venus employs bitter nights against me 

and useless love is lacking at no time.

Avoid this evil, I warn: may his own mistress delay each man

and may he not change place from his familiar love.

But if anyone should turn his ears slowly towards my warnings,

alas with how much grief he will recall my words.

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Tibullus 1.1

divitias alius fulvo sibi congerat auro 

et teneat culti iugera magna soli,

quem labor adsidiuus vicino terreat hoste,

Martia cui somnos classica pulsa fugent:

me mea paupertas vitae traducat inerti,

dum meus adsiduo luceat igne focus.

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Tibullus 1.1

Riches another man may pile up for himself with tawny gold 

and he may hold great acres of cultivated land.

A man whom constant toil from the neighbouring enemy may terrify,

and whose sleep the sounding military bugles may put to flight.

Let my humble circumstances lead me to an idle life,

while my fireplace burns with a continuous fire. 

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Tibullus 1.1

ipse seram teneras maturo tempore vites

rusticus et facili grandia poma manu;

nec Spes destituat, sed frugum semper acervos

praebeat et pleno pinguia musta lacu.

nam verneror, seu stipes habet desertus in agris

seu vetus in trivio florida serta lapis:

et quodcumque mihi pomum novus educat annus

libatum agricolam ponitur ante deum. 

flava ceres, tibi sit nostro de rure corona

spicea quae templi pendeat ante fores;

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Tibullus 1.1

When the time is ripe, I myself, as a countryman

will plant the tender vnes and lofty fruit trees with an easy hand.

and let hope not forsake me but may it always offer heaps of fruit

and rich fresh wine in a full vat.

For I pray, if a branch abandoned in a field has flowery garlands 

or an old stone at a crossroads has.

And whatever fruit the new year may bring forth to me,

it is placed as a libation before the farmer God.

Golden-haired Ceres, let there be a wreath from my farm

for you to hang before the doors of your temple.

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Tibullus 1.1

pomosisque ruber custos ponatur in hortis 

terreat ut saeva falce Priapus aves. 

vos quoque, felicis quondam, nunc pauperis agri

custodes, fertis munera vestra, Lares;

tunc vitula innumeros lustrabat caesa iuvencos,

nunc agna exigui est hostia parva soli:

agna cadet vobis, quam circum rustica ***** 

clamet: 'io messes et bona vina date'.

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Tibullus 1.1

let the ruddy guardian, Priapus be placed in the fruit bearing gardens,

to scare the birds with his fierce hook. 

And you also, guardians of a field once prosperous, now poor 

you accept your gift, Lares.

In those days a slightered female calf used to purify the innumerable bullocks.

Nowadays a lamb is a meagre sacrifice for the small plot of land.

A lamb will fall for you, and let the rustic youths around it

shout 'Io! Give harvests and good wine!'

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Tibullus 1.1

iam modo, iam possim contentus vivere parvo

nec seper longae deditus esse viae,

sed Canis aestivos ortus vitare sub umbra

arboris ad rivos praetereuntis aquae.

nec tamen interdum pudeat tenuisse bidentem

aut stimulo tardos increpuisse boves;

non agnamve sinu pigeat fetumve capallae

desertum oblita matre referre domum. 

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Tibullus 1.1

Now if only now I may be happy to live with a little

and not always be consigned to a long journey 

but to avoid the summer risings of the Dog Star beneath 

the shade of a tree by a stream of water running by.

And however, it would not be shameful from time to time to hold the two-pronged *** 

or rebuke the slow oxen with the goad.

Nor would it annoy me to bring back home a lamb at my breast,

or the offspring of a she-goat, abandoned by its forgetful mother.

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Tibullus 1.1

at vos exiguo pecori, furesque lupique,

parcite: de magno est praeda petenda grege.

hic ego pastoremque meum lustare quot annis

et placidam soleo spargere lacte Palem.

adsitis, divi, neu vos e paupere mensa

dona nec e puris spernite fictilibus:

fictilia antiquus primum sibi fecit agrestis

pocula, de facili composuitque luto. 

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Tibullus 1.1

But you, thieves and wolves, spare the small herd

plunder must be taken from a great flock.

Here I am accustomed to purify my shepherd every year

and scatter gentle Pales with milk.

May you be present Gods, neither spurn gifts from a poor table

nor from clean earthenware.

Earthern cups the ancient man of the fields 

first made for himself and composed from pliant clay.

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Tibullus 1.1

non ego divitias patrum ructusque requiro

quos tulit antiquo condita messis avo:

parva seges satis est, satis est requiescere lecto

si licet et solito membra levare toro.

quam iuvat inmites ventos audire cubantem

et dominam tenero continuisse sinu!

aut, gelidas hibernus aquas cum fuderit Auster,

securum somnos igne iuvante sequi!

hoc mihi contingat: sit dives iure furorem

qui maris et tristes ferre potest pluvias.

o quantum est auri pereat potiusque smaragdi

quam fleat ob nostras ulla puella vias.

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Tibullus 1.1

I do not need the riches of my forefathers

and the profits which a stored harvest brought to my ancient ancestors.

A small crop is enough, it is enough if I am allowed to rest on a bed

and to ease my limbs on a familiar couch.

How pleasing it is to hear the harsh winds as I lie down

and to hold my mistress to my tender breast,

or when wintery Auster pours down icy waters 

to pursue sleep, safe by a helpful fire!

Let this befall me, let him be rich by right 

the man who is able to endure the anger of the sea and the dismal rains.

O, however much gold there is, or however many emeralds,

may they perish rather than that any girl should weep on account of my travels.

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Tibullus 1.1

te bellare decet terra, Messalla, marique,

ut domus hostiles praeferat exuvias:

me retinent vinctum formosae vincla puellae,

et sedeo duras ianitor ante fores.

non ego laudari curo, mea Delia; tecum

dum modo sim, quaeso segnis inersque vocer. 

te spectem, suprema mihi cum venerit hora,

te teneam moriens deficente manu.

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Tibullus 1.1

It is fitting, Messalla, for you to wage war on land and sea,

so that your house may display enemy spoils;

the bonds of a beautiful girl hold me bound 

and I sit as a doorkeeper before her harsh doors.

I do not care to be praised my Delia;

if I may only be with you I seek to be called lazy and idle. 

When the final hour comes to me may I look at you

and as I die may I hold you with a failing hand.

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Tibullus 1.1

flebis et arsuro positum me, Delia, lecto,

tristibus et lacrimis oscula mixta dabis.

flebis: non tua sunt duro praecordia ferro 

vincta, nec in tenero stat tibi corde silex.

illo non iuvenis poterit de funere quisquam

lumina, non virgo, sicca referre domum. 

tu manes ne laede meos, sed parce solutis 

crinibus et teneris, Delia, parce genis.

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Tibullus 1.1

You will cry, Delia, when I have been placed on the bed which is about to burn,

and you will give me kisses mixed with sad tears.

You will cry: your breast is not bound in harsh iron

nor does flint stand in your tender heart.

No youth nor girl whatsoever 

will be able to return home from that funeral with dry eyes. 

Don't hurt my shade, but spare your loosened hair

and spare your tender cheeks, Delia.

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Tibullus 1.1

interea, dum fata sinunt, iungamus amores:

iam veniet tenebris Mors adoperta caput;

iam subrepet iners aetas, nec amare decebit,

dicere nec cano blanditias capite.

nunc levis est tractanda Venus, dum frangere postes

non pudet et rixas inseruisse iuvat.

hic ego dux milesqu bonus: vos, signa tubaeque,

ite procul, cupidis vulnera ferte viris,

ferte et opes: ego composito securus acervo

dites despiciam despiciamque famem.

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Tibullus 1.1

Meanwhile, while the fates allow it, let us unite in love.

Now death will come, his head covered up in shadows.

Now idle age will creep up on us, and it will not be fitting to make love,

nor to speak endearments with a grey head.

Now light love must be managed while it is not shameful to break down doors

and it is pleasing to institute quarrels.

Here I am a leader and a good soldier: you, banners and trumpets,

go far off, take wounds to greedy men and take them riches

safe on the heap I have garnered 

I will look down on the wealthy and I will look down on hunger.

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Amores 1.1

arma gravi numero violentque bella parabam 

edere, materia conveniente modis.

par erat inferior versus; risesse Cupido

dicitur atque unum surripuisse pedem.

'quis tibi, saeve puer, dedit hoc in carmina iuris?

Pieridum vates, non tua, turba sumus.

quid si praerioiat flavae Venus arma Minervae,

ventilet accensas flava Minerva faces?

quis probet in silvis Cererem regnare iugosis,

lege pharetratae virginis arva coli? 

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Amores 1.1

Arms in weightly measure and violent wars I was preparing to put forth

with material suited to the metre.

The lower line was equal to the upper line; Cupid is said to have laughed

and pilfered one foot.

'Who gave you, cruel boy, this jurisdiction over poetry? 

We poets are the crowd of the Pierides, not yours. 

What then, if Venus should take away the weapons of flaxen-haired Minerva,

should flaxen-haired Minerva fan into flames the burning marriage torches?

Who would approve of Ceres reigning in the mountianous woods,

the fields being cultivated by the law of the quiver-bearing maiden?'

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Amores 1.1

crinibus insignem quis acuta cuspide Phoebum

instruat, Aoniam Marte movente lyram?

sunt tibi magna, puer, nimiumque potentia regna:

cur opus adfectas ambitose novum?

an, quod ubique, tuum est? tua sunt Heliconia tempe?

vix etiam Phoebo iam lyra tuta sua est?

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Amores 1.1

Who would furnish Apollo, notable for his hair, with a spear

while Mars strums the Aonian lyre?

Your kingdoms are great, boy, and excessively powerful,

why do you ambitiously aspire for a new job?

Or is that which is everywhere is yours? Are the Heliconian valleys yours? 

Is even Phoebus' own lyre now scarcely safe?

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Amores 1.1

cum bene surrexit versu nova pagina primo,

attenuat nervos proximus ille meos.

nec mihi materia est numeris levioribus apta.

aut puer aut longas compta puella comas.

questus eram, pharetra cum protinus ille soluta

legit in exitium spicula facta meum

lunavitque genu sinuosum fortiter arcum

'quod' que 'canus, vates, accipe' dixit 'opus'.

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Amores 1.1

Whenever the new page has risen well,

that next one weakens my efforts;

and I do not have material suited to lighter metres,

with neither a boy nor a girl adorned with long hair.

I had complained, when straightaway he, with loosened quiver,

chose darts made for my ruin

and on his knee strongly curved the bendy bow into a crescent.

'The work for you to sing about, poet, take it!' he said.

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Amores 1.1

me miserum! certas habuit puer ille sagittas:

uror, et in vacuo pectore regnat Amor.

sex mihi surgat opus numeris, in quinque residat;

ferrea cum vestris bella valete modis.

cingere litorea flaventia tempora myrto,

Musa per undenos emodulanda pedes.

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Amores 1.1

Wretched me! That boy had unerring arrows.

I burn, and love reigns in my empty breast.

Let my work rise up in six feet and sink down in five;

farewell iron wars with your hexameter.

Gird your golden temples with seaside myrtle,

Muse, who must be put to music by means of 11 feet!

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Amores 2.5

nullus amor tanti est (abeas, pharetrate Cupido),

ut mihi sint totiens maxima vota mori.

vot amori mea sunt, cum te peccasse recordor,

in mihi perpetuum nata puella malum.

non mihi deceptae nudant tua facta tabellae

nec data furtive munera crimen habent.

o utinam arguerem sic, ut non vincere possem!

me miserum, quare tam bona causa mea est?

felix, qui quod amat defendere fortiter audet,

cui sua 'non feci!' dicere amica potest.

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Amores 2.5

No love is worth so much - may you be off quiver-carrying Cupid! - 

that my most heartfelt prayers should so often be for death.

My prayers are for death, when I recall that you have strayed,

girl born for my eternal harm.

No notes to beguile me lay bare your deeds,

nor do gifts given in secret cause the accusation. 

Or would that I might accuse you in such a way that I could not win!

Wretched me, why is my case so good?

Happy is he who dares bravely to defend what he loves;

to whom his girlfriend is able to say 'I did not do it!'

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Amores 2.5

ferreus est nimiumque suo favet ille dolori,

cui petitur victa plama cruenta rea.

ipser miser vidi, cum me dormire putares,

sobrius apposito crimina vestra mero:

multa supercilio vidi vibrante loquentes;

nutibus in vestris pars bona vocis erat.

non oculi tacuere tui conscriptaeque vino

menso, nec in digitis littera nulla fuit. 

sermonem agnovi, quod non videatur, agentem

verbaque pro certis iussa valere notis.

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Amores 2.5

A man of iron is he and one who favours his own pain too much,

the man by whom a bloody victory is sought after the accused girl has been defeated. 

I saw your crimes myself, poor wretch, when you thought me asleep;

sober I was even though the neat wine had been served.

I saw you two speaking many things with quivering eybrow;

there was a good part of your utterance in your nods. 

Your eyes were not silent and the table was written on in wine,

there were many letters in your fingers.

I recognised your speech, doing what it didn't seem to,

and your words had been ordered to stand in for certain codes.

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Amores 2.5

iamque frequens ierat mensa conviva relicta;

compositi iuvenes unus et alter erant:

improba tum vro iugentes oscula vidi

(illa mihi lingua nexa fuisse liquet),

qualia non fratri tulerit germana severo,

sed tulerit cupido mollis amica viro;

qualia credibile est non Phoebo ferre Dianam,

sed Venerem Marti saepe tulisse suo.

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Amores 2.5

And now the numerous guests had gone, the table abandoned.

One or two young men were drowsy.

Then indeed I saw you joining your shamless little mouths.

(It is clear to me that these were connected by tongues),

not such a sort as a sister would give to her stern brother,

but a pliant girlfriend would give to her amorous mate.

Not such a sort as you would believe Diana to give to Phoebus,

but that Venus would often give to her Mars.

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Amores 2.5

'quid facis?' exclamo 'quo nunc mea gausia defers?

iniciam dominas in mea iura manus.

haec tibi sunt mecum, mihi sunt communia tecum:

in bona cur quisquam tertius ista venit?'

haec ego, quaeque dolor linguae dictavit; at illi

consca purpureus venit in ora pudor.

quale coloratum Tithini coniuge caelum

subrubet, aut sponso visa puella novo;

quale rosae fulgent inter sua lilia mixtae

aut, ubi cantatis, Luna, laborat equis;

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Amores 2.5

'What are you doing?' I shout, 'where are you taking my delights?'

I will lay my masters hands on my rights.

These things are shared between me and you and between you and me.

Why does any third party come into these goods?'

I said this, and the things which grief dictated to my tongue,

but scarlet shame came over her guilty face,

just as the sky grows red, coloured by the spouse of Tithonus;

or like a girl having been seen by her new fiance.

Just as roses gleam when mixed with their lilies,

or the moon, when she is at work with her enchanted horses.

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Amores 2.5

aut quod, ne longis flavescere possit ab annis,

Maeonis Assyrium femina tinxit ebur:

hic erat aut alicui color ille simillimus horum,

et numqam casu pulchrior illa fuit.

spectabat terram: terram spectare decebat;

maesta erat in vultu: maesta decenter erat.

sicut erant (et erant culti) laniare capillos

et fuit in teneras impetus ire genas;

ut faciem vidi, fortes cecidere lacerti:

defensa est armis nostra puella suis.

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Amores 2.5

or like Assyrian ivory, which a Maeonian woman has dyed

so that it isn't able to grow yellow with a long passage of long years.

This colour she was or that one very like one of these,

and by chance she was never more beautiful.

She was looking at the ground - it was becoming to look at the ground

she was sad of face - it was becoming to be sad.

I had an urge to tear out her hair just as it was (and it was well-dressed)

and to attack her tender cheeks. 

When I saw her face, my strong arms fell:

my girl was protected by her own weapons.

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Amores 2.5

qui modo saevus eram, supplex ultroque rogavi

oscula ne nobis deteriora daret.

risit et ex animo dedit optima, qualia possent

executere irato tela triscula Iovi:

torqueor infelix, ne tam bona senserit alter,

et volo non ex hac illa fuisse nota.

haec quoque quam docui multo meliora fuerent,

et quiddam visa est addidicisse novi.

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Amores 2.5

I, who was recently fierce, as a suppliant of my own accord,

begged her to give me kisses that were no worse.

She smiled and gave the best kisses from her heart, just like those

which might have been able to shake the three pronged weapon from angry Jove.

I'm tormented, unhappy man, lest another man has felt kisses so good 

and I wish that these kisses were not of this stamp.

They are also much better than I have taught her,

and she seemed to have learnt something new in addition.

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Amores 2.5

quod nimium placuere, malum est, quod tota labellis

lingua tua est nostris, nostra recepta tuis.

nec tamen hoc unum doleo, non oscula tantum

iuncta queror, quamvis haec quoque iuncta queror:

illa nisi in lecto nusquam poutere doceri;

nescioquis pretium grande magister habet.

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Amores 2.5

It is a bad thing because they pleased too much, because your whole tongue

was welcomed by my lips, my tongue welcomed by yours.

And, however, I do not lament this one thing, I complain not that her lips

are joined so much, although about this joining I do also complain;

she could have been taught no where else except in bed.

Some teacher or other has a great reward, I don't know who.

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