Every lover serves as a soldier, and Cupid has his own camp;
Believe me, Atticus, every lover serves as a soldier.
The age which is apt for war, is also suitable for Love:
Disgraceful [is] an old man as a soldier, disgraceful [is] an elderly lover.
Those spirits which leaders look for in a brave soldier,
A beautiful girl seeks these in a man as her companion:
Both keep watch at night; each rests on the ground;
That one guards the doors of his mistress, that one his general’s.
The duty of the soldier is the long road: send the girl away,
The vigorous lover will follow with boundary removed;
He will go onto hostile mountains and rivers doubled
By a rainstorm, he will tread his way through piled up snows,
Nor [when] about to press the seas, will he plead the swollen Southeast Wind
And seek stars suitable for sweeping across the waters.
Who, if neither a soldier nor a lover, will endure the frosts
Of the night and snow mixed with dense rain?
One is sent among the hostile foes as a spy,
The other keeps his eye upon his rival, as his enemy.
That one besieges mighty cities, that one the threshold of
A harsh girlfriend; one breaks down gates, the other doors.
Often it has been beneficial to attack sleepy enemies
And to slaughter an unarmed crowd with an armed hand;
Thus the fierce troops of Thracian Rhesus fell,
And you, captured horses, deserted your master:
Certainly lovers use the sleep of husbands
And move their weapons against sleeping enemies.
It is always the work of a soldier and a wretched lover
To pass through the bands of guards and troops of watchmen.
Mars is doubtful nor is Venus certain; and the conquered rise again,
And those whom you say never could be brought down, fall.
Therefore whoever called love idleness,
May he stop: love has an active nature.
Sad Achilles burnt against the abducted Briseis
(While you may, break the Argive strength, Trojans);
Hector went from the embrace of Andromache to war,
And she who gave him a helmet for his head, was his wife;
The greatest of leaders, son of Atreus, having seen Priam’s daughter is said
To have been stupefied by her flowing Maenad’s hair.
Mars, also having been caught, felt the chains of the blacksmith:
No story was more famous in heaven.
I myself was lazy and born for loose-clad leisure;
The couch and shade had softened my spirit;
Love for a beautiful girl urged on idle [me],
And ordered me to earn wages in her camps.
Then you see me agile and waging nocturnal war:
He who does not want to become idle, let him love.
militat omnis amans, et habet sua castra Cupido;
attice, crede mihi, militat omnis amans.
quae bello est habilis, Veneri quoque convenit aetas.
turpe senex miles, turpe senilis amor.
quos petiere duces animos in milite forti,
hos petit in socio bella puella viro.
pervigilant ambo; terra requiescit uterque—
ille fores dominae servat, at ille ducis.
militis officium longa est via; mitte puellam,
strenuus exempto fine sequetur amans.
ibit in adversos montes duplicataque nimbo
flumina, congestas exteret ille nives,
nec freta pressurus tumidos causabitur Euros
aptave verrendis sidera quaeret aquis.
quis nisi vel miles vel amans et frigora noctis
et denso mixtas perferet imbre nives?
mittitur infestos alter speculator in hostes;
in rivale oculos alter, ut hoste, tenet.
ille graves urbes, hic durae limen amicae
obsidet; hic portas frangit, at ille fores.
saepe soporatos invadere profuit hostes
caedere et armata vulgus inerme manu.
sic fera Threicii ceciderunt agmina Rhesi,
et dominum capti deseruistis equi.
nempe maritorum somnis utuntur amantes,
et sua sopitis hostibus arma movent.
custodum transire manus vigilumque catervas
militis et miseri semper amantis opus.
mars dubius nec certa Venus; victique resurgunt,
quosque neges umquam posse iacere, cadunt.
ergo desidiam quicumque vocabat amorem,
desinat. ingenii est experientis amor.
ardet in abducta Briseide maestus Achilles—
dum licet, Argeas frangite, Troes, opes!
Hector ab Andromaches conplexibus ibat ad arma,
et, galeam capiti quae daret, uxor erat.
summa ducum, Atrides, visa Priameide fertur
Maenadis effusis obstipuisse comis.
Mars quoque deprensus fabrilia vincula sensit;
notior in caelo fabula nulla fuit.
ipse ego segnis eram discinctaque in otia natus;
mollierant animos lectus et umbra meos.
inpulit ignavum formosae cura puellae
iussit et in castris aera merere suis.
inde vides agilem nocturnaque bella gerentem.
qui nolet fieri desidiosus, amet!