Be Patient

by Horace


She’s not ready to bear a yoke on her bowed
neck yet, she’s not yet equal to the duty
of coupling, or bearing the heavy
weight of a charging bull in the mating act.

The thoughts of your heifer are on green pastures,
on easing her burning heat in the river,
and sporting with the eager calves
in the depths of moist willow plantations.

Forget this passion of yours for the unripe
grape: autumn, the season of many-colours,
will soon be dyeing bluish clusters
a darker purple, on the vine, for you.

Soon she’ll pursue you, since fierce time rushes on
and will add to her the years it takes from you,
soon Lalage herself will be eager
to search you out as a husband, Lalage,

beloved as shy Pholoë was not, nor your
Chloris, with shoulders gleaming white, like a clear
moon shining over a midnight sea,
nor Cnidian Gyges, that lovely boy,

whom you could inser in a choir of girls,
and the wisest of strangers would fail to tell
the difference, with him hidden behind
his flowing hair, and ambiguous looks.

Last updated May 19, 2019