Persephone, may this your mercy last, and you,
Persephone's consort, be not over-cruel.
There are so many thousands of lovely ghosts in Hell:
let one fair girl, please, stay among the living.
With you is Iope, with you is dazzling Tyro,
with you Europe, and shameless Pasiphae,
and all the beauties ancient Troy and Achaea had,
and Thebes, and aged Priam's ruined realm,
and all the Roman girls that may be ranked among them,
all dead: the greedy fire now has them all.
Beauty is not forever, nor anyone's luck eternal:
distant or near, a death awaits us all.
Since you, light of my life, are freed from this great peril,
pay Diana the ritual gifts you owe,
and keep your vigil for her, now a goddess, who once was a heifer
and give her - ah me! - the ten pure nights you vowed.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
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