Main Text

pg 6028ACynthia's illness

  • 1      Jove, at long last have pity on a girl in sickness;
  • 2          You will be blamed if one so lovely dies.
  • Editor’s Note33      Juno your wife will surely pardon you for caring;
  • 34          A dying girl can break even Juno's heart.
  • 3      The time has come when sultry air is sweltering
  • Editor’s Note4          And earth parched by the Dogstar's drought.

  • 5      And yet heat-wave and sky are not so much to blame
  • 6          As repeated failure to honour the Gods.
  • 7      This is the ruin, has long been the ruin, of wretched girls;
  • 8          Their vows are swept away by wind and wave.
  • 9      Does Venus resent comparison with her? That Goddess
  • 10          Envies all who are beautiful as she.
  • Editor’s Note11      Or did you neglect the temple of Pelasgian Juno,
  • Editor’s Note12          Or dared you find fault with Pallas' eyes?
  • 13      You beauties never learn to discipline your speech;
  • 14          Beauty and a guilty tongue brought this upon you.

  • 15      And yet for you whose life is plagued by many perils
  • 16          Will come at day's end a gentler hour.
  • 17      Io, her head deformed, had lowed in her first years;
  • Editor’s Note18          The heifer that drank Nile water is now a Goddess.
  • Editor’s Note19      Ino too in her first life wandered the world;
  • 20          Poor sailors pray to her as Leucothea.
  • Editor’s Note21      Andromeda was pledged as a sea-monster's prey;
  • 22          She became Perseus' famous bride.
  • Editor’s Note23      Callisto as a bear had roamed Arcadian fields;
  • 24          Her star directs benighted sails.

  • 25      But if so be that Fate should hasten your repose,
  • 26          Bliss will be the fate of your entombment.
  • Editor’s Note27      You will tell Semele of beauty's peril and she
  • 28          Will listen, taught as a girl by her own pain.
  • Editor’s Note29      You among all the Maeonian heroines shall have
  • 30          First place, with none dissenting.
  • pg 6131      But now in your weakness bear with Fate as best you may;
  • 32          God and the drastic day can turn.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
4 The Dogstar, or Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rising in July was supposed to bring on the hottest time of the year.
Editor’s Note
11 Pelasgian: = Argive. Argos was Juno's (Hera's) most ancient place of worship.
Editor’s Note
12 The goddess Pallas had grey eyes.
Editor’s Note
18 Io (i. 3. 20 note) was transformed into the Egyptian goddess Isis.
Editor’s Note
23 Callisto: a nymph attendant on the virgin goddess Diana, was loved by Jupiter but turned into a bear by Diana as a punishment. Jupiter placed Callisto and her son in the heavens as Great and Little Bear.
Editor’s Note
27 Semele: mother by Jupiter of the god Bacchus, asked to see Jupiter in the full power of his divinity and was destroyed by his lightning.
Editor’s Note
29 Maeonian: = Lydian, but Homer was known as Maeonides and the adjective probably stands for 'Homeric' here.
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