To Antinous Apollon, Lover

How many are your loves, Antinous Apollon,

and how many the stories with unhappy endings.

How often your beloveds shrink away in fear

or fall prey to jealous rivals; how often the light

of your regard turns mortals into plants.

Laurel and cypress and hyacinth bear testimony

to the terror your purity of love can inspire.

Yet to those who yield, you give joy and fruitfulness;

many are your sons by many mothers, and

how poor we would be without their gifts.

If you insist on loving us, father of Aristaios and

Asklepios, then make us worthy of your favor

and sensible of our worthiness in your sight.

O Antinous Apollon, if you approach us mortals,

be gentle; if we flee your light, do not pursue

too swiftly; if we hesitate between mortal and

immortal love, do not judge too harshly, for we

are as moths to your flame, dust motes in your

beams, herbs thrown onto the fire sweetly to burn.