The Sickness of Perdica


Tell me, little boy, shall your arrows never be still?
Were the branches not enough? Nor the waves and the beasts and the wellspring,
The satyr, the enamored bull, or the wings and the rain?
Not even the grisly meal which made Tereus seek out the sky?
This still remained for you, cruel Cupid –
You compel a young man to desire his own mother.
Change, I beg, your flames, and send other arrows!

For all those above and the other temples of the gods
He would worship with pious incense, with sacred wine and with dedications,
Forgetting only Venus, and forgetting the boy Amor.
At this, the goddess was offended; this was the cause of her dire wrath;
From this was born …

(290) “Here lies Perdica, who has destroyed himself for Cupid.”