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Three Poems of Petronius

Word count: 268

Song Cycle by Louis Durey (1888 - 1979)

Original language: Trois Poèmes de Pétrone

1. The snowball

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2017 by Peter Low, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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I did not think there was fire inside snow;
but the other day Julia threw a snowball at me
and that snow was fire.
Is anything colder than snow?
And yet, Julia, what you threw ignited my heart.
Where now can I find a shelter
to escape the traps of Love,
if there’s hidden flame even in this frozen water?
But Julia, you can quench the fire that consumes me,
not with snow or ice,
but by burning with a flame equal to mine.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

2. Transmigration of the soul

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2017 by Peter Low, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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While I was receiving a sweet kiss from my lover’s lips
and inhaling from his half-open mouth the fresh scent of his breath,
my soul, intoxicated, rushed up to my lips,
and sneaked between his, trying escape from me.

Ah, if the tender union of our lips had lasted
an instant longer, my soul, burnt by love’s fires,
aflame with love, would have passed into his soul and left me.
Thus, oh miracle, dead by my own doing,
I would have lived on in the breast of my lover!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

3. The pomegranate

Language: English after the French (Français)

Authorship

  • Translation from French (Français) to English copyright © 2017 by Peter Low, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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Lesbia, the light of my soul, has sent me a pomegranate:
and now I don’t care for other kinds of fruit.
I disdain the quince with its white down,
and the chestnut with all its spikes,
I want neither walnuts nor shiny plums.
Such presents are good enough for crude Corydon.

Lesbia has also sent me cakes
which her teeth have lightly nibbled;
the honey of her lips has increased their sweetness.
I don’t know which is better to inhale,
the sweet smell of honey, or that of her breath
more aromatic than Cecropian thyme.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

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