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Erotica Romana

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I Here's where I've planted my garden and here I shall care for love's blossoms—As I am taught by my muse, carefully sort them in plots:Fertile branches, whose product is golden fruit of my lifetime,Set here in happier years, tended with pleasure today.You, stand here at my side, good Priapus—albeit from thieves I'veNothing to fear. Freely pluck, whosoever would eat.—Hypocrites, those are the ones! If weakened with shame and bad conscienceOne of those criminals comes, squinting out over my garden,Bridling at nature's pure fruit, punish the knave in his hindparts,Using the stake which so red rises there at your loins.

II Tell me ye stones and give me O glorious palaces answer.Speak O ye streets but one word. Genius, art thou alive?Yes, here within thy sanctified walls there's a soul in each object,ROMA eternal. For me, only, are all things yet mute.Who will then tell me in whispers and where must I find just the windowWhere one day she'll be glimpsed: creature who'll scorch me with love?Can't I divine yet the paths through which over and overTo her and from her I'll go, squandering valuable time?Visiting churches and palaces, all of the ruins and the pillars,I, a responsible man, profit from making this trip.With my business accomplished, ah, then shall only one temple,AMOR's temple alone, take the initiate in.Rome, thou art a whole world, it is true, and yet without love thisWorld would not be the world, Rome would cease to be Rome.

III More than ever I dreamed, I have found it: my happy good fortune!Cupid sagaciously led past those palazzos so fine.He of course knows very well (and I have also discovered)What, beneath tapestries rich, gilded boudoirs conceal.One may if one wishes call him a blind, wanton boy—but I know you,Clever Cupid, too well! O, incorruptible god!We were by no means inveigled to enter façades so majestic;Somber cortilé we passed, balcony high and gallant,Hastening onward until an humble but exquisite portalOffered a refuge to both, ardent seeker and guide.Here he provides me with ev'rything, sees that I get what I call for;Each day that passes he spreads freshly plucked roses for me.—Isn't that heaven on earth? Say, beautiful Lady Borghese,What would you give to me more? —You, Nipotina, what yours?Banquets and game tables, operas, balls, promenades down the Corso?These but deprive my sweet boy of his most opportune times.Finery, haughtiness do not entice me. Does one not lift aGown of the finest brocade just as one lifts common wool?If she's to press in comfort a lover against that soft bosom,Doesn't he want her to be free from all brooches and chains?Must not the jewelry, and then the lace and the bustles and whaleboneAll of it come off entire, if he's to learn how she feels?I encounter no troubles like those. Simple dress of rough homespun,At but a lover's mere touch, tumbles in folds to the floor.Quickly he carries the girl as she's clad in chemise of coarse linen—Just as a nursemaid might, playfully up to her bed....