Elegy 2.18

Ad Macrum, quod de amoribus scribat

To tragic verse while thou Achilles train'st,
And new-sworn soldiers' maiden arms retain'st,
We, Macer, sit in Venus' slothful shade,
And tender love hath great things hateful made.
Often at length, my wench depart I bid,
She in my lap sits still as erst she did.
I said, " It irks me"; half to weeping framed,
" Aye me," she cries, " to love why art ashamed?"
Then wreathes about my neck her winding arms,
And thousand kisses gives, that work my harms.
I yield, and back my wit from battles bring,
Domestic acts, and mine own wars to sing.
Yet tragedies and sceptres filled my lines,
But though I apt were for such high designs,
Love laughed at my cloak, and buskins painted,
And rule so soon with private hands acquainted.
My mistress' deity also drew me fro it,
And Love triumpheth o'er his buskined poet.
What lawful is, or we profess love's art,
(Alas, my precepts turn myself to smart!)
We write, or what Penelope sends Ulysses,
Or Phyllis' tears that her Demophoon misses,
What thankless Jason, Macareus, and Paris,
Phaedra, and Hippolyte may read, my care is,
And what poor Dido with her drawn sword sharp
Doth say, with her that loved the Aonian harp.
As soon as from strange lands Sabinus came,
And writings did from divers places frame,
White-cheeked Penelope knew Ulysses' sign,
The stepdame read Hippolytus' lustless line,
Aeneas to Elisa answer gives,
And Phyllis hath to read, if now she lives.
Jason's sad letter doth Hypsipyle greet,
Sappho her vowed harp lays at Phoebus' feet.
Nor of thee, Macer, that resound'st forth arms,
Is golden love hid in Mars' mid-alarms:
There Paris is, and Helen's crime's record,
With Laodamia, mate to her dead lord.
Unless I err, to these thou more incline
Than wars, and from thy tents wilt come to mine.
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