I wanted to love you: you prefer
To have me as your courtier.
Well, I must follow your direction.
But goodbye, Sextus, to affection.

[Vis te, Sexte, coli: volebam amare.
Parendum est tibi: quod iubes, coleris:
Sed si te colo, Sexte, non amabo.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, epigram 55 (2.55) (AD 86) [tr. Michie (1972)]

"To Sextus." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

I Offer Love, but thou Respect wilt have;
Take, Sextus, all thy Pride and Folly crave:
But know I can be no Man's Friend and Slave.
[tr. Sedley (1702)]

The more I honour thee, the less I love.
[tr. Johnson (c. 1755)]

Yes, I submit, my lord; you've gained your end:
I'm now your slave -- that would have been your friend;
I'll bow, I'll cringe, be supple as your glove;
-- Respect, adore you -- ev'rything but -- love.
[tr. Graves (1766)]

Sextus, would'st though courted be?
I had hopes of loving thee.
If thou wilt, I must obey;
I shall court thee, nor delay.
Dost thou ceremony seek?
And renounce my friendship? Speak.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 5, ep. 35]

To love you well you bid me know you better,
And for that wish I rest your humble debtor;
But, if the simple truth I may express,
To love you better, I must know you less.
[tr. Byron (c. 1820)]

You wish to be treated with deference, Sextus: I wished to love you. I must obey you: you shall be treated with deference, as you desire. But if I treat you with deference, I shall not love you.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You wish to be courted, Sextus; I wished to love you. I must obey you; as you demand, you shall be courted. But if I court you, Sextus, I shall not love you.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

I offered love -- you ask for awe;
Then I'll obey you and revere;
But don't forget the ancient saw
That love will never dwell with fear.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

You want my respect, I wanted to love you,
Sextus. I give in. Have my respect.
But I cannot prefer someone I defer to.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

You would be courted, dear, and I would love you.
But be it as you will, and I will court you.
But if I court you, dear, I will not love you.
[tr. Cunningham (1971)]

You want to be cultivated, Sextus. I wanted to love you. I must do as you say. Cultivated you shall be, as you demand. But if I cultivate you, Sextus, I shall not love you.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

I would love you, dear, by preference,
But you instead demand my deference.
And so my love I will defer,
With courtesy, as you prefer.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

You ask for deference when I offer love;
So be it; you shall have my bended knee.
But Sextus, by great Jupiter above,
Getting respect, you'll get no love from me.
[tr. Hill]

You want to be my patron and my friend.
If you insist on patron, goodbye friend!
[tr. Wills (2007)]

I wished to love you; you would have
me court you. What you want must be.
But if I court you, as you ask,
Sextus, you'll get no love from me.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Added on 10-Mar-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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