Sulpicia Poem 1 (contributed by Terry Walsh)

This is a wonderfully triumphant cri de coeur, at once defiant, feminine and feminist; the slight awkwardness of the Latin is touching.

Terry Walsh

 

Tandem venit amor, qualem texisse pudori

quam nudasse alicui sit mihi fama magis.

Exorata meis illum Cytherea Camenis

attulit in nostrum deposuitque sinum.

Exsolvit promissa Venus: mea gaudia narret,                5

dicetur si quis non habuisse sua.

Non ego signatis quicquam mandare tabellis,

ne legat id nemo quam meus ante, velim.

Sed peccasse iuvat, vultus componere famae

taedet: cum digno digna fuisse ferar.

 

 

At last love has come, a passion that rumour would make more shameful for me to have hidden than to have uncovered to anyone.

Cytherean Venus, won over by my Muses, has brought him and placed him in my embrace.

Venus has answered my prayer; let anyone supposed not have a love of her own trumpet my joys instead.

I would not want to entrust anything to sealed letters, so that nobody can read it before my man;

No, I rejoice in my boldness, as I’m tired of keeping a downcast stare; let people say that I’m worth being seen with a worthy man.

 

Head of the poetess Sappho, Smyrna, Marble copy of a prototype belonging to the Hellenistic Period. (Istanbul Archeological Museum, Inv. 358 T, Cat. Mendel 626)


Chosen and translated by Terry Walsh.

The above text is provided by the Perseus Digital Library and the translation is by Jane Mason.

Read more of this text at the Perseus site.

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