Nec fuge linigerae Memphitica templa iuvencae: Multas illa facit, quod fuit ipsa lovi. Et fora conveniunt (quis credere possit?) amori: 80Flammaque in arguto saepe reperta foro: Subdita qua Veneris facto de marmore templo Appias expressis aera pulsat aquis, Illo saepe loco capitur consultus Amori, Quique aliis cavit, non cavet ipse sibi: 85Illo saepe loco desunt sua verba diserto, Resque novae veniunt, causaque agenda sua est. Hunc Venus e templis, quae sunt confinia, ridet: Qui modo patronus, nunc cupit esse cliens.
Sed tu praecipue curvis venare theatris: 90Haec loca sunt voto fertiliora tuo. Illic invenies quod ames, quod ludere possis, Quodque semel tangas, quodque tenere velis. Ut redit itque frequens longum formica per agmen, Granifero solitum cum vehit ore cibum, 95Aut ut apes saltusque suos et olentia nactae Pascua per flores et thyma summa volant, Sic ruit ad celebres cultissima femina ludos: Copia iudicium saepe morata meum est. Spectatum veniunt, veniunt spectentur ut ipsae: 100Ille locus casti damna pudoris habet. Primus sollicitos fecisti, Romule, ludos, Cum iuvit viduos rapta Sabina viros.
Syrian Jew holds sacred.1 Avoid not the Memphian shrine of the linen-clothed heifer: many a maid does she make what she was herself to Jove.2 Even the law-courts (who could believe it?) are suitable to love, often has its flame been found in the shrill-tongued court: where set beneath the marble shrine of Venus, the Appian nymph strikes the air with her upspringing waters,3 there often is the lawyer surprised by Love, and he who was careful for others is not careful for himself: often there does the glib speaker fail for words: a new case comes on and his own cause must be pleaded. Venus laughs at him from her neighbouring shrine: he who was of late an advocate would fain be a client now.
But specially do your hunting in the round theatres: more bountifully do these repay your vows. There will you find an object for passion or for deception, something to taste but once, or to keep, if so you wish. As crowded ants pass and repass in a long train, bearing in grain-burdened mouth their wonted food, or as bees, having gained their dells and fragrant pastures, flit o’er the blossoms and hover o’er the thyme: so hasten the smartest women to the crowded games; many a time have their numbers made my judgment falter. They come to see, they come that they may be seen: to chastity that place is fatal. Thou first, Romulus, didst disturb the games, when the rape of Sabine women consoled the wifeless men.
- 1The worship of Adonis was connected with the temple of Venus, and his festival was very popular with the courtesans of Rome; “Syrian” covers most of the near East; there were many Jews in Rome since the capture of Jerusalem by Pompey in 63 b.c.
- 2Isis is often identified with Io in Latin poetry. The temple of the former stood in the Campus Martius.
- 3There was a temple of Venus Genetrix in the Forum Julium, and near it the fountain of the Aqua Appia (so called because the water was brought by the aqueduct built by the censor, Appius Claudius).