Wedding Prayer

O, inhabitant of the mountain of Helicon,
son of Urania, who seize a dainty young woman and carry her off to a man,
o Hymenaeus, Hymen!
O Hymenaeus Hymen!
Crown your temples with flowers,
take your flame-colored veil, pleasant with fragrant marjoram,
and come over here, wearing a reddish yellow slipper on a snow-white foot!
And having been roused from sleep on a cheerful day, singing wedding songs in a high-pitched voice,
strike the ground with your feet, and shake the pinewood marriage-torch with your hand!
Good virgin Junia dons the veil for Manius with a good omen,
like Venus, who dwells in Idalium, as she came to Paris, the Phrygian judge.
And she is just like an Asian myrtle tree shining forth with small,
flowery branches, which the wood nymphs nurture with dewy moisture, as amusement for themselves.
Therefore come, making an approach over here, and continue, leaving behind the Aonian caves of the Thespian rock, the caves which the nymph Aganippe makes wet as she cools them from above.
And call the mistress, desirous of her new husband, home, as you bind their minds with love, like wandering ivy clinging to a tree in a tangle!
Likewise, you unmarried virgins, whose own wedding day, as well, is coming soon, act in the right and proper way, and sing, O Hymenaeus Hymen!
O Hymenaeus Hymen, in order that the leader of good Venus, the one who conjoins good love, might make his approach over here more gladly when he hears himself being called to the task.
Which god is more to be sought by lovers who are loved?
Which of the gods will people look after the more, o Hymenaeus Hymen, o Hymenaeus Hymen?
Sex can seize nothing of benefit without you, because a good reputation demonstrates one’s goodness, but sex can do this when you are willing.
Who would dare be compared to this god?
Without you, no family can give children, and no parent can rely on his offspring, but he can when you are willing.
Who would dare be compared to this god?
A land that lacked your holy rites would not be able to give guardians to its borders: but it would if you were willing.
Who would dare be compared to this god?
Open the bars of the door.
There is a young woman.
Do you see how the marriage torches shake their fiery locks?
A natural sense of shame may delay the bride.
Nevertheless, hearing her shame the more, she weeps because she must go.
Stop crying, Junia.
In your case, there is no danger that a prettier woman has seen the rising light of day.
Such a hyacinth-colored flower usually stands in the multicolored little garden of a wealthy lord.
But you are dallying, and the day is ending.
Please go forth as the bride.
Please advance as the bride, if it seems proper at this time, and hear our words.
See? The wedding torches shake their golden locks: please advance as the bride.
Your husband is not fickle; not devoted to a bad mistress, he does not pursue indecent scandals, and he won’t want to sleep apart from your dainty little breasts;
but just as a supple vine entwines with trees planted nearby, he will become entangled in your embrace.
But the day is ending.
Please go forth as the bride.
O marriage bed, which for everyone.
How numerous the pleasures of the ivory-footed marriage bed come to your husband, which, on a restless night, and in the middle of the day, may he enjoy!
But the day is ending; please go forth as the bride.
Boys, raise the wedding- torches;
I see the flame-colored veil coming.
Go and sing in unison, in the right and proper way:
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
Lest the ribald Fescennine jesting be silent for a long time, and the groom’s catamite refuse nuts to boys as he hears about abandoned love.
Give nuts to the boys, lazy catamite!
You have played with nuts long enough: now it pleases Hymenaeus to be of service.
Catamite, give nuts.
You considered farm managers’ wives unworthy of your attention, today and yesterday.
Now your hairdresser shaves your beard.
O wretched, wretched catamite, give nuts!
Anointed groom, you will be criticized for keeping away from your bald, effeminate slaves, but keep away from them.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
We know that these peccadilloes (which are permitted to you) are the only ones you have known, but they are not permitted to a married man.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
Wife, beware lest you deny the things that both you and your husband seek, lest he go to seek them from elsewhere.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
Behold how powerful and wealthy your husband’s house is, which is in your interest: allow it to be of service to you
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
until old white-haired womanhood, nodding her tremulous head, nods assent to everything for everyone.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
With a good omen, carry your gold-colored little feet over the threshold, and go beneath the door of polished wood.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
Look inside in order that your husband, reclining in his crimson bed, might be completely intent on you.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
A flame burns no less ardently in his innermost heart than in yours, but secretly, even more so.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
Young man, give your smooth little arm to the maiden; let her visit her husband’s bed now.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
You good women, well known by your aged husbands, array the maiden on her marriage bed.
Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus, yo! Yo! Hymen Hymenaeus!
You may come now, bridegroom: your wife is in the marriage chamber, and her countenance is flowery and radiant, like the white chamomile or the red poppy.
But, thus may the gods help me, you are no less handsome,
O bridegroom, and Venus is not indifferent to you.
But the day is ending.
Proceed, and do not dally.
You have not waited long; now you are coming.
May good Venus be of help to you, since what you desire you desire openly, and you do not conceal your good love.
Let him who wishes to count the many thousands of your love-plays first calculate the amount of sand in Africa and the number of twinkling stars!
Play as you like, and within a short time, produce children.
It isn’t fitting for an old name to be without children, but it is fitting for them to be engendered from the same family.
I want Torquatus to laugh sweetly, with a half-open lip, as, from his mother’s lap, he stretches out his delicate hand to his father.
May he be like his father Manlius, and easily recognized by everyone who is unknowing, and may he declare the sexual fidelity of his mother by mouth!
May the virtue from his good mother prove the excellence of his family, just as the peerless flame remains for Telemachus from his excellent mother, Penelope.
Close the doors of the marriage chamber, young ladies: we have played enough.
But, good newlyweds, live well and spend your vigorous youth in incessant conjugal activity!