Certainly I shall not sing of celebrated mistresses. For, if they live no longer, why speak of them at all? Am I not quite similar to them? Have I not enough to do to think about myself?
I shall forget you, Pasiphaë, 126 although your passion was extreme. I shall not praise you, Syrinx, nor you, Byblis, nor you, white-armed Helen, goddess-chosen from among them all!
If one has suffered, I can scarcely feel it. If one has loved, I love more than she. I sing my flesh and my life, and not the sterile shades of buried lovers.
Stay softly couched, oh, my body, according to your voluptuous mission! Taste daily joys and passions whose tomorrow never comes. Leave no pleasure unexplored, lest you regret the evening of your death.