Catullus Poem 66  "Coma Berenice"
CONON, he who scanned all the lights of the vast sky, 
       who learnt the risings of the stars and their settings, 
how the flaming blaze of the swift sun suffers eclipse, 
       how the stars recede at set seasons, 
how sweet love calls Trivia from her airy circuit, 
       banishing her secretly to the rocky cave of Latmus -- 
that same Conon saw me shining brightly among the lights of heaven, 
       me, the lock from the head of Berenice, 
me whom she vowed to many of the goddesses, 
10         stretching forth her smooth arms, 
11  at that season when the king, blest in his new marriage, 
12         had gone to waste the Assyrian borders,
13  carrying the sweet traces of our battles at night
14         which he had won by conquering my virginity.
15  Is Venus hated by brides? and do they mock 
16         the joys of parents with false tears,
17  which they shed plentifully within their virgin bowers? 
18         No, so may the gods help me, they lament not truly. 
19  This my queen taught me by all her lamentations, 
20         when her newly wedded husband went forth to grim war. 
21  But your tears, forsooth, were not shed for the desertion of your widowed bed, 
22         but for the mournful parting from your dear brother, 
23  when sorrow gnawed the inmost marrow of your sad heart.
24         At that time how from your whole breast did your anxious 
25  spirit fail, bereft of sense! and yet truly 
26         I knew you to be stout-hearted from young girlhood. 
27  Have you forgotten the brave deed by which you gained a royal 
28         marriage, which none else could venture and so win the title of braver?
29  But at that time in your grief, when parting from your husband, what words did you utter! 
30         How often, O Jupiter, did you brush away'the tears with your hand! 
31  What mighty god has changed you thus ? is it that lovers 
32         cannot bear to be far away from the side of him they love? 
33  And there to all the gods for your dear husband's welfare 
34         you vowed me not without blood of bulls, 
35  so he should complete his return. He in no long time 
36         had added conquered Asia to the territories of Egypt. 
37  This is done; and now I am given as due to the host of heaven, 
38         and pay your former vows with a new offering. 
39  Unwillingly. O queen, I was parted from your head, 
40         unwillingly, I swear both by you and by your head; 
41  by which if any swear vainly, let him reap a worthy recompense.
42         But what man can claim to be as strong as steel? 
43  Even that mountain was overthrown, the greatest of all in those shores 
44         which the bright son of Thia traverses, 
45  when the Medes created a new sea, and when the youth 
46         of Persia swam in their fleet through mid Athos. 
47  What shall locks of hair do, when such things as this yield to steel? 
48         Jupiter, may all the race of the Chalybes perish,
49  and he, who first began to seek for veins underground, 
50         and to forge hard bars of iron!
51  My sister locks, sundered from me just before, were mourning for my fate, 
52         when the own brother of Ethiopian Memnon appeared, 
53  striking the air with waving wings, 
54         the winged follower of Locrian Arsinoe.
55  And he sweeping me away flies through the airs of heaven 
56         and places me in the holy bosom of Venus. 
57  On that service had the Lady of Zephyrium, the Grecian queen, 
58         who sojourns on the shores of Canopus, herself sent her own minister. 
59  Then Venus -- that among the various lights of heaven,
60         not only should the golden crown taken from the brows of Ariadne 
61  be fixed, but that I also might shine, 
62         the dedicated spoil of Berenice's sunny head,
63  me too, wet with tears, and transported to the abodes of the gods, 
64         me a new constellation among the ancient stars did the goddess set; 
65  for I, touching the fires of the Virgin and the raging Lion, 
66         and close by Callisto daughter of Lycaon, 
67  move to my setting, while I point the way before slow Bootes,
68         who scarce late at night dips in deep ocean. 
69  But though at night the footsteps of the gods press close upon me, 
70         whilst by day I am restored to gray Tethys 
71  (under thy sufferance let mespeak this, O Virgin of Rhamnus; 
72         no fear shall make me hide the truth, 
73  no, not even though the stars shall rend me with angry words 
74         will I refrain from uttering the secrets of a true heart), 
75  I do not so much rejoice in this good fortune, as grieve that parted, 
76         ever parted must I be from the head of my lady; 
77  with whom of old, while she was still a virgin, delighting herself
78         with all kinds of perfumes, I drank many thousands.
79  Now, ye maidens, when the torch has united you with welcome light, 
80         yield not your bodies to your loving spouses, 
81  baring your breasts with vesture opened, 
82         before the onyx jar offers pleasant gifts to me, 
83  the jar which is yours, who reverence marriage in chaste wedlock. 
84         But as for her who gives herself up to foul adultery, 
85  ah! let the light dust drink up her worthless gifts unratified: 
86         for I ask no offerings from the unworthy. 
87  But rather, O ye brides, may concord evermore dwell 
88         in your homes, ever abiding Love. 
89  And you, my queen, when gazing up to the stars 
90         you propitiate Venus with festal lamps, 
91  let not me your handmaid want perfumes, 
92         but rather enrich me with bounteous gifts. 
93  Why do the stars keep me here? I would fain be the queen's lock once more; 
94        and let Orion blaze next to Aquarius.