Mood Swings of A Man in Love

Theognis 1329-1334

my boy, as long as your chin is smooth
I won’t stop courting you.
not even if it means the death of me.
for you, the one yielding, this is something beautiful.
for me, the one loving, there’s no shame in begging.
but on my father, I make this prayer:
respect me, beautiful boy, and grant me your favor.
otherwise, if one day you come
needing the gifts of violet-wreathed Aphrodite,
as you run after another,
god grant that you meet with the same words I have!

I’m no longer in love with the boy!
I’ve shrugged off hard sorrows!
I’ve gladly escaped the tiresome work!
I’ve been sprung from desire!
all thanks to well-wreathed Aphrodite.
your beauty, my boy, is nothing to me!

ugh! I’m in love with the smooth-skinned boy.
doubtless he tells all my friends,
though that’s not what I want.
but I’ll put up with things not being secret–
many things, contrary to my will and unwelcome.
after all, it’s not over some two-bit boy I seem a broken man.

ὦ παῖ, ἕως ἂν ἔχῃς λείαν γένυν, οὔποτε σαίνων
παύσομαι, οὐδ᾽ εἴ μοι μόρσιμόν ἐστι θανεῖν.
σοί τε διδόντι τι καλὸν ἐμοί τ᾽ οὐκ αἰσχρὸν ἐρῶντι
αἰτεῖν. ἀλλὰ γονεω ν λίσσομαι ἡμετέρων,
αἴδεό μ᾽, ὦ παῖ καλὲ, διδοὺς χάριν, ἢ εἴ ποτε καὶ σὺ
ἥξεις Κυπρογενοῦς δῶρον ἰοστεφάνου
χρηΐζων, καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἄλλον ἐλεύσεαι, ἀλλά σε δαίμων
δοίη τῶν αὐτῶν ἀντιτυχεῖν ἐπέων.

οὐκέτ᾽ ἐρῶ παιδός, χαλεπὰς δ᾽ ἀπελάκτισ᾽ ἀνίας,
μοχθούς τ᾽ ἀργαλέους ἄσμενος ἐξέφυγον,
ἐκλέλυμαι δὲ πόθου πρὸς ἐϋστεφάνου Κυθερείης:
σοὶ δ᾽, ὦ παῖ, χάρις ἔστ᾽ οὐδεμία πρὸς ἐμοῦ.

αἰαῖ, παιδὸς ἐρῶ ἁπαλόχροος, ὅς με φίλοισιν
πᾶσι μάλ᾽ ἐκφαίνει κοὐκ ἐθέλοντος ἐμοῦ.
τλήσομαι οὐ κρύψας ἀεκούσια πολλὰ βίαια:
οὐ γὰρ ἐπ᾽ αἰκελίῳ παιδὶ δαμεὶς ἐφάνην

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

One thought on “Mood Swings of A Man in Love

Leave a Reply