Therefore Is Love Said to Be a Child

Propertius Elegies 2.12

Whoever it was who painted Love [as a] boy, don't you think that he had skillful hands? He first saw that lovers live (i.e., behave) without judgment and that great advantages are lost through [their] trivial cares. Not without good reason, the same [person] added quivering wings and made the god fly in the human heart, since in fact we are tossed on the wave's ebb and flow (lit., on alternating wave) and the breeze that drives us (lit., our breeze) does not remain in one place. And rightly is [his] hand armed with barbed arrows and a Cretan quiver hangs down from each shoulder, since he strikes before we, [feeling] safe, see the enemy, nor does anyone escape (lit, go away) unharmed. In me [his] weapons remain, and the boyish form remains, but certainly he has lost his wings, since—alas!—he flies away from my heart to no other place and constantly wages war in my blood.

What pleasure is there for you (lit., what pleasant [thing] is there for you) in dwelling in [my] sick heart (lit, dry marrows)? If you have any shame (lit, if there is shame [to you]), shoot [your] weapons elsewhere, boy! [It is] better [for you] to shoot unscathed people with that poison of yours. [It is] not I, but my frail Shade [that] is being flogged. If you destroy it, who will there be who would sing of such things—this slight Muse of mine is your great glory—[and] who would sing of [my] sweethearts head and fingers and dark eyes and how [her] feet are accustomed to step (lit, go) in a graceful fashion (lit, gracefully)?

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