Apollon Lykeios

P Sufenas Virius Lupus

My father Zeus on altars high

received the sacrifices grim;

for this I suffer and I sigh,

for loss of grace, for loss of him!

 

The ephebe of Arcadia

in cohorts taking from the pot

would fear that it would be to he

to whom would fall the fateful lot.

 

Eating flesh forbidden to men

by Zeus’ law — supreme, divine —

would get the youths nine years astray

across the lake in shapes lupine.

 

The ancient warlike primal race

had generations acting so;

thus by the Fates fair Zephyros

would blow to foul my discus throw.

 

Thousands of those youths uncounted

would return to polis intact,

but every death in wilds accounted

a debt to me in this dark pact.

 

And so I suffered when in love

not mere exquisite pains of joy

but sorrow, loss, and tragedy

for that fair flowering Spartan boy.

 

He was my own ephebic friend,

companion, hero, light of day,

a lover never truer found

nor with more passion in his play!

 

But jealousy of Zephyros

soon blowed to foul my discus throw

and struck full sore the hero’s head

with blood outpouring, laid him low.

 

He was cruel ransom for the deaths

of so many in wolfish form

as Lykaon’s sin was repaid

by Zeus in diluvial storm.

 

We gods are not apart from pain,

no strangers are gods to sorrow;

for short moments I had pleasure,

but no more will come tomorrow.

 

I joined myself to his body,

I took myself his name renowned;

his glory celebrated yearly,

with wilting sadness I am crowned.

 

Make offerings on his behalf

and mourn a day for love ended;

I howl from Arcadia’s peaks

with wolfish heart, never mended!

 

 

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