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This poem is taken from PN Review 220, Volume 41 Number 2, November - December 2014.

Three Sketches of Cynthia translated by Patrick Worsnip Propertius
Cynthia’s Birthday

I wondered why the Muses smiled
standing beside my bed at the blush of sunrise:
to celebrate the birthday of my girl,
clapping three times to bring her luck.
I want a cloudless day, the winds at standstill,
waves pattering safely on the shore.
No one’s to grieve today,
Niobe’s rock will dry her tears,
halcyons cease lugubrious cries,
the nightingale refrain from mourning.

You, darling, favoured by your birth-signs,
rise, pray to gods for just rewards,
wash off sleep with pure spring water,
style your bright hair between your fingers.
Slip on that dress that first caught my eye,
...


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