15quadrupedesque hominis1 cum pectore pectora iunctos tergeminumque virum tergeminumque canem, Sphingaque et Harpyias serpentipedesque Gigantas centimanumque Gyen semibovemque virum. haec ego cuncta prius, quam te, carissime, credam 20mutatum curam deposuisse mei. innumeri montes inter me teque viaeque fluminaque et campi nec freta pauca iacent. mille potest causis a te quae littera saepe missa sit in nostras rara venire manus; 25mille tamen causas scribendo vince frequenter, excusem ne te semper, amice, mihi.
Iam mea cycneas imitantur tempora plumas, inficit et nigras alba senecta comas. iam subeunt anni fragiles et inertior aetas, iamque parum firmo me mihi ferre grave est. 5nunc erat, ut posito deberem fine laborum vivere, me nullo2 sollicitante metu, quaeque meae semper placuerunt otia menti carpere et in studiis molliter esse meis, et parvam celebrare domum veteresque Penates 10et quae nunc domino rura paterna carent, inque sinu dominae carisque sodalibus inque securus patria consenuisse mea. haec mea sic quondam peragi speraverat aetas: hos ego sic annos ponere dignus eram. 15non ita dis visum est, qui me terraque marique actum3 Sarmaticis exposuere locis.
are fourfooted creatures whose breasts are joined to those of a man,1 a triple man2 and a triple dog,3 a Sphinx and Harpies and snaky-footed giants, a hundred-handed Gyes and a man who is half a bull.4 All these things will I believe rather than that thou, dear one, hast changed and put aside thy love for me. Countless mountains lie between thee and me, and roads, and rivers, and plains, and not a few seas. A thousand reasons can exist why the letters often sent by thee rarely reach my hands. But overcome the thousand reasons by writing often, lest I be forever making my own excuses for thee, my friend.
VIII. An Exile’s Declining Years
Already my temples are like the plumage of a swan, for white old age is bleaching my dark hair. Already the years of frailty and life’s inactive time are stealing upon me, and already ’tis hard for me in my weakness to bear up. Now ’twere time that I should of right cease my toils and live with no harassing fears, to enjoy the leisure that always pleased my taste, comfortably engaged in my pursuits, devoting myself to my humble house and its old Penates, the paternal fields that are now bereft of their master, peacefully growing old in my lady’s embrace, among my dear comrades and in my native land. For such consummation as this did my youth once hope; thus to spend these years did I deserve.
15 Not so have the gods decreed; they have driven me over land and sea and cast me forth in the region