Quam valde semper opto
Quam valde semper opto, pulchra Sylvia mea,
Que hic me jungis in lecto recente florens lilis
Sub solem callidum, qua una nos jubimus voluptates
Amantium, et nos replimus aquarum Lesbi fluminis.
Nimis recte scio que sorbillisti ab pocule
Dei in Olympo et recumbisti ad Jovi pedem;
Vitae rusticae nullae te nequeo corrumpere
Ab illa oblectatione caeleste. Dolor est meum
Ferre, solum, qua inter pascunt mea greges
Canto sperans que olim Musam meam me favertes.
How intensely do I ever wish, my lovely Sylvia,
That you would join me upon this verdant bed of blossoming lilies
Beneath the warm sun, where we together might enjoy the pleasures
Of lovers, and drink our fill of the waters of the Lesbian stream.
I know well, however, that you have drunk from the cup
Of the gods in Olympus and reclined at the foot of Jove;
To no simple life might I seduce you
From that heavenly recreation. That pain is mine
To bear, alone, amid my grazing flock, where
I sing, hoping that someday you will favor me, my Muse.
This piece is another exercise in expanding my understanding of classical meter and imagery (like its predecessor Lude fistula tua). I have made my best attempt here to stay true to a dactylic hexametrical line, though I know that many of the dactyls here are awkward at best - I admit I'm not that familiar or comfortable with Latin (yet, anyway) to get it entirely correct. As I learned just after completion of this poem that lyrics were often written with alternating hexameter and pentameter, I plan to use that structure for my next classical endeavor.
"Sylvia" in this poem is my apprentice-sister Lady Silence de Cherbourg, whose heraldry involves six fleurs-de-lys upon a green field (thus the verdant bed of lilies). As she has reviewed many of my pieces and given me helpful feedback, I thought at the very least she too should be included in my fictional world of pastoral lyrics.
Cooper, Helen. Pastoral: Medieval into Renaissance. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1977.
Jones, Peter. Learn Latin: A Lively Introduction to Reading the Language. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1997.
Petrarca, Francesco. Petrarch's Love Poems: The Rime Sparse and Other Lyrics. Trans. and ed. Robert Durling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U, 1976.
Traupman, John. The New College Latin & English Dictionary. New York: Bantam, 1995.
Whicher, George. The Goliard Poets: Medieval Latin Songs and Satires. New York: New Directions, 1949.