Ad Marium Galeotam
Quis violas Galeota tibi, quis carmina nolit
Mittere, cara tui pars o Galeota sodalis?
Tu violas, tu carmen amas, en accipe utrunque:
Dumque canam violas, violis tibi tempora cinge.
5 Quae iuvenem sylvae flagranti pectore Iolam
Non videre olim? Qui non stupuere canentem
Praerupti nemorum anfractus, latebrosaque lustra?
Dum miser huc illuc letali saucius ictu
Errat amans, seque ipsum odit, vitatque sequentem;
10 Dumque unam ipse ardet, dum totus Hyanthide ab una
Pendet, et omne nemus responsat Hyanthida circum;
Quae rupes illam, quae non novere latebrae,
Dum pavidos imas in valles pellere damas
Nititur, et studio venandi lassa sub umbris
15 Accubat, et cantu volucres permulcet, et auras?
Qui vel amore huius Nymphae non fervidus ultro
Ingemuit Faunus? Qui non cupiere calenti
Pectore monticolae sylvestria numina Panes,
Dum modo fonte sitim pellit, modo sole perusta
20 Membra lavat, Parium longe superantia marmor?
Iam caput Eois Aurora emerserat undis,
Et revocans hilares ad munera rustica Nymphas
Floribus, ac nitido mundum perfuderat auro:
Cum forte optatam male vidit Hyanthida Iolas,
25 Vt monstrarat Amor per roscida prata vagantem,
Et vernos tenero carpentem pollice flores;
Dumque illa albenti vacinia fusca ligustro
Associat, variasque rosis interligat herbas,
Narcissumque croco, calthamque immiscet acantho,
30 In primisque sinum violis pallentibus ornat,
Ac violis passos componit in ordine crines,
Vritur infelix longum miratus eunti
Vt circum niteat tellus, ut leniter aurae
Exhilarent purum rorantibus aera pennis.
35 Ah miser ecquid agat? Cupit ire, et perdere supplex
Verba ultro: at retrahit timor, et iam verba relinquunt.
Mox inter frutices latitans vix talia fatur:
“En age tuta para vario tibi flore corollas
Nympha dolor, requiesque animi pulcherrima Nympha;
40 Iam non congressus, iam non suprema reposco
Gaudia, divino mihi sat nunc lumine tantum
Posse frui, mihi sat procul inspexisse: quid horres?
Pone metum, in superos humanis non licet ultra.
Num tibi quidve habeat referam, quid possit Iolas?
45 Parvus enim nihil est, tamen est tuus omnis Iolas”.
Illa ubi clamantisque sono, strepitumque fruteti
Audiit, extemplo iam florum oblita retorsit
Lumina, nec niveo delapsum pectore sertum
Tollit humo. At postquam tuti nil undique vidit,
50 “Diva fave o nemorum” exclamat “cui candida curae
Virginitas, mihi Diva fave”: nec plura locuta
Effugit, et celeres visa est se vertere in auras.
Tum iuvenis properare gradum conatur, at ultra
Ferre gradum mala fata vetant, ac territus haeret;
55 Mox cadit, et lapsum dum se se attollere frustra
Ter parat, ah lapsus rursum procumbit humi ter:
Nec sibi credit amans infelix, nec sibi constat.
Quin simul ac florem conspexit (sparserat omnem
Florem illa huc illuc, miserum cum fugit Iolam)
60 Colligit, atque sinu condit, manibusque retractat,
Atque haec heu lacrymis verba intermiscet obortis:
“Tune o care mihi, nuper quem pectore fovit,
Flos ille es, nostri quem pignus Hyanthis amoris,
Quem veluti mortis certissima dona reliquit:
65 Tune etiam miseri dictus de nomine Iolae
Testis eris nostri dulcissime floscule leti?”.
Haec ait, et super incumbens iam liquitur omnis
In lacrymas, iam sanguis abit, iam deficit intus
Spiritus, ac remanet nil iam de corpore, ni qui
70 Testetur multus pallentem pallor amantem:
Fit viola, et floris paulatim arctatur in orbem:
Qui vel adhuc retinet mutati nomen Iolae.
Tum Venus extincti casus miserata, voraret
Ne dignos lacrymis obitus fuga temporis ulla,
75 Munere neve aliquo miser indonatus obiret,
Instituit, Charitesque nova mox lege notarunt,
Vt Viola optati gratissima nuntia Veris
Cingeret aeternum crines, et pectora Nymphis.
Rota on Mareota
Who does not wish [to send] you violets, who [does not wish]
to send you poetry, Galeota, you cherished half of your companion?
You love violets, you [love] poetry: look! Take both,
and as long as I sing of violets, wreathe your temples with violets.
5 What woodlands did not see the youth Iolas with heart aflame
once upon a time? What sheer gorges in the forest
and wildwood haunts of beasts were not agape at his song?
While the wretched youth, wounded with a lethal blow,
wandered hither and yon, lovelorn, and loathed himself, and spurned his
10 and while he burned [with love] for one girl—while his all hung
on Hyanthis and the whole forest round about answered “Hyanthis”—
what crags, what hidden haunts did not learn of her
when she strove to chase the timorous deer to the valley-bottoms
and, weary from the effort of hunting,
15 lay down and charmed the birds and breezes with her song?
What Faun did not spontaneously groan out, burning with love
for this nymph? What hill-dwelling Pans, those deities of the woodland,
did not desire [her] with heart aglow
when she was quenching her thirst in a spring or, scorched by the sun,
20 bathing that body of hers that far surpassed Parian marble?
By now Dawn had emerged from the waves of the Orient,
and, calling the playful nymphs back to their country occupations,
had suffused the world with flowers and bright gold,
when by an unfortunate chance Iolas had seen Hyanthis, object of his
25 as Love had pointed her out roaming among the dewy meadows
and plucking springtime flowers with her tender thumbnail.
And while she joined dusky hyacinths to white privet
and intertwined various plants with roses,
and mixed narcissus with crocus, marigold with acanthus,
30 and most especially adorned her bosom with pale violets,
and neatly arranged violets in her flowing hair,
the unhappy young man burns [with love], marveling for a long while
at how the earth gleams around her as she goes, at how the breezes gently
gladden the pure air with their dewy wings.
35 Ah, wretched, should he do anything? He wants to go and waste words
in supplication, unbidden: but timidity pulls him back, and already the
words leave him.
Shortly, hiding among the underbrush, he scarcely gets these words out:
“Go, then, make yourself garlands of different flowers without fear,
o Nymph, pain and balm of [my] soul, o most beautiful Nymph;
40 I no longer pray for togetherness, no longer for the ultimate
delight; now it is enough for me to be able to enjoy
[your] divine light—enough for me to observe from afar. Why do you
Put aside your fears; against deities nothing further is permitted to
Should I tell you what Iolas possesses, or what he is capable of?
45 For Iolas, being small, is nothing; yet he is all yours.”
When she heard the sound of his cries and the noise in the thicket
she immediately forgot about her flowers and turned
her eyes, and did not pick up from the ground the garland
that fell from her snow-white bosom. No, when she saw no safety on
50 she cried out, “O goddess of the woodlands, heed my call, you whose
is for pure virginity—heed my call, o goddess!” And, saying no more,
she took flight, and seemed to meld into the swift breezes.
Then the youth tried to hasten his steps, but an evil fate
kept him from stepping further, and he halted in fear;
55 then he fell, and when he tried three times to lift himself
in vain, ah! he fell again three times and lay prone on the ground.
Nor did the unhappy lover believe himself or act like himself,
but as soon as he spied the flower (she had scattered all
the flowers hither and yon when she ran away from wretched Iolas)
60 he gathered it and tucked it in his tunic-front and fondled it with his
and—alas!—mingled the following words with his rising tears:
“Are you that flower so dear to me
that she recently warmed in her bosom, that Hianthis left
as a pledge of our love, as a sort of sure recompense for death?
65 Will you, o sweetest little flower, named
for wretched Iolas, be witness to my death?”
So he spoke, and crouching over [the flower] he dissolved entirely
in tears; his blood drained away; the breath within him
failed, and nothing remained of his body except
70 a paleness to declare the paleness of a lover:
he turned into a violet and, little by little, shrank to the circumference
of the flower that even to the present day retains the name of Iolas.
Then Venus, pitying the dead boy’s misfortune, in order that
no swift course of time should swallow up an end worthy of tears
75 and that the poor youth should not die uncompensated,
established—and the Graces shortly set it down in a new law—
that the Violet, most gracious herald of the Spring,
should forever wreathe the hair and bosoms of the Nymphs.