20 Sep The Antidotes
If you’ve regrets, and moderate emotions touch your heart,
then halt your feet, while you can, at the first threshold.
Crush the evil germs of sudden illness while they’re young,
and prevent your horse’s gallop at the start.
For time gives strength, time ripens tender grapes,
and creates healthy crops from what were shoots.
The tree that spreads wide shadows for passers-by,
was only a slip at first that had been planted:
then a hand could pluck it from the topsoil:
now by its growth it stands, in all its immense power.
Let your swift mind encompass what it is that you love,
and withdraw your neck from the collar that hurts you.
Halt its beginnings: it’s too late for the doctor to be called,
when the illness has grown stronger through delay.
But hurry, don’t put it off to a later time:
who’s not ready today, will be less so tomorrow:
all love deceives, and gains nourishment by waiting:
every next day is the best for freedom.
You see few rivers flow from mighty fountains:
by many inflowing waters they’re multiplied.
Myrrha , if you’d realised sooner what sins you’d begun,
you’d not have hidden your face with tree-bark.
I’ve seen a wound that could at first be healed
suffer harm through enduring long delays.
But since it charms us to cull the fruits of Venus,
we always say: ‘the same could happen tomorrow.’
Meanwhile the secret flames creep into our heart,
and the baleful tree drives its roots deeper.
The Cures for Love