Imitated from an Elegy attributed to Sulpicia Est qui te, Cerinthe, &c.

Imitated from an Elegy attributed to Sulpicia
Est qui te, Cerinthe, &c.

Vide Tibul. Lib.iv.
May. 1803. [1] 
Oh! ever dear, and sacred day,
That gave Cerinthus to the light,
And bad him hold unrivall'd sway,
O'er every key of soft delight.
The fates on him, with lavish hand,5
Bestow'd each captivating art,
And smil'd to see him still demand
A worthless gift, his Lesbia's heart. [2] 
But since propitious to thy vows
That heart Cerinthus, now is thine,10
And hope the mutual prayer allows,
That brighter days for each shall shine
By the dark glances of thine eyes,
And by that sweet persuasive tongue,
On which with speechless, fond surprise15
Her charmed soul so oft hath hung.
By all those graceful, winning charms
She lov'd in silence still to trace,
Indulgent hear her weak alarms,
And if thou canst, her terrors chace.20
Say that with her, and her alone,
Thy constant heart can sympathise,
Thy purest wishes all her own,
Thy nightly prayers, thy daily sighs.
Or if to Lesbia's love unjust,25
Thine heart a newer chain can wear,
Unmindful of that sacred trust,
Our parting sorrows bid thee share.
Oh, then release her captive soul,
In vain to hopeless woe reserv'd,30
Let both be freed from love's control,
Or both in willing bonds preserv'd.
Oh, rather thus, thus both remain
Indissolubly, dearly join'd!
Nor ever may this golden chain,35
Some future, fatal day unbind.


[1] EDITOR'S NOTE: "Imitated from an Elegy attributed to Sulpicia Est qui te, Cerinthe, &c. Vide Tibul. Lib.iv. May. 1803" does not appear in Psyche, with Other Poems or Mary (or Collected Poems and Journals). It presents a verse translation of the Latin elegy "Qui mihi te, Cerinthe, dies dedit, hic mihi sanctus" (“This day that made thee live for me, Cerinthus, shall be for me one to be hallowed always,” J. P. Postgate translation) collected in the Corpus Tibullianum, (3.11), the works of Tibullus (books 1-2) and friends (books 3-4 in Tighe's time), which includes a set of poems about Sulpicia and her beloved Cerinthus, "Sulpicia's Garland" (the source of Tighe's poem), as well as six elegies by Sulpicia herself:

Qui mihi te, Cerinthe, dies dedit, hic mihi sanctus
atque inter festos semper habendus erit:
te nascente nouum Parcae cecinere puellis
seruitium et dederunt regna superba tibi.
Vror ego ante alias: iuuat hoc, Cerinthe, quod uror,5
si tibi de nobis mutuus ignis adest;
mutuus adsit amor, per te dulcissima furta
perque tuos oculos per Geniumque rogo.
Mane Geni, cape tura libens uotisque faueto,
si modo, cum de me cogitat, ille calet.10
Quod si forte alios iam nunc suspiret amores,
tunc precor infidos, sancte, relinque focos.
Nec tu sis iniusta, Venus: uel seruiat aeque
uinctus uterque tibi uel mea uincla leua;
sed potius ualida teneamur uterque catena,15
nulla queat posthac quam soluisse dies.
Optat idem iuuenis quod nos, sed tectius optat:
nam pudet haec illum dicere uerba palam.
At tu, Natalis, quoniam deus omnia sentis,
adnue: quid refert, clamne palamne roget?20

[2] EDITOR'S NOTE: Lesbia was the pseudonym Catullus used to refer to his lover. BACK