Prayers (drawn from the poems of Tibullus)
by: M. Horatius Piscinus
Pleas over the Gods of Death

Adsis et timidis faveas, Saturnia, votis, et faveas concha, Cypria, vecta tua. Aut si fata negant reditum tristesque sorores, stamina quae ducunt quaeque futura neunt, me vocet in vastos amnes nigramque paludem dives in ignaua luridus Orcus aqua.

Come, Saturn’s daughter, give favor to my prayer! Hear me, Cyprian Venus, who was born along on a conch shell! Rather let my fate be denied, than that my life should now be sorrowfully ended by those sisters who spin the threads of everyone’s future, and called down by ghastly Orcus into the desolate swamps and sluggish streams of black waters. III.iii.33-8

Parcite, pallentes undas quicumque tenetis duraque sortiti tertia regna dei. Elysios olim liceat cognoscere campos Lethaeamque ratem Cimmeriosque lacus. Interea nigras pecudes promittite Diti et nivei lactis pocula mixta mero.

Spare me, pallid waves of Pluto, who lastly took hold of his realm when the gods cast lots. Delay my rafting upon the Cimmerian basin, my drinking the draft of Lethe, and my departing to those Blessed Fields of Elysium. Meanwhile black sheep I promise to offer, and pure wine mingled in a cup of snow-white milk, to the gods of that dark place. III.v.21-4;33-4

Abstineas avidas, Mors, modo, nigra, manus. Abstineas, Mors atra, precor: non hic mihi mater quae legat in maestos ossa perusta sinus, non soror, Assyrios cineri quae dedat odores et fleat effusis ante sepulcra comis, Delia non usquam; quae me cum mitteret urbe, dicitur ante omnes consuluisse deos.

Refrain your greedy hands, O black Death! Wait, Death, I pray: my mother is far away; she cannot gather my burned bones to her grieving breast. I have no sister here to sprinkle Assyrian perfumes over my ashes, nor with disshelled hair to weep beside my sepulcher. Neither is my love Delia near, who would not let me leave her until she was assured by the gods of my safe return. I.iii.4-10

To Isis

Nunc, dea, nunc succurre mihi—nam posse mederi picta docet templis multa tabella tuis, at mihi contingat patrios celebrare Penates reddereque antiquo menstrua tura Lari.

Help me now, Isis! Give succour to me beneath your breast. I’ve seen, drawn on the walls of your temple, the many pictures of your worshippers who have received your aid…Help me, that I may return to stand at my family altars offering each month a gift of incense to our Lar. I.iii.27-8, 33-34

To Osiris

Non tibi sunt tristes curae nec luctus, Osiri, sed chorus et cantus et levis aptus amor, sed varii flores et frons redimita corymbis, fusa sed ad teneros lutea palla pedes et Tyriae vestes et dulcis tibia cantu et levis occultis conscia cista sacris. Huc ades et Genium ludis Geniumque choreis concelebra et multo tempora funde mero: illius et nitido stillent unguenta capillo, et capite et collo mollia serta gerat. Sic venias hodierne: tibi dem turis honores, Liba et Mopsopio dulcia melle feram.

At tu, Natalis multos celebrande per annos, candidior semper candidiorque veni.

Somber cares and lamentations, Osiris, were never part of your realm, but song and dance and joyfulness you love. Copious flowers and clusters of ivy berries crown our forehead; yellow skirts and robes of Tyrian purple swirl about the tender feet and limbs of those who dance around your vase of sacred objects to the sound of sweet music. Come celebrate in the spirit of these games, in the spirit of these dances, in the joyous spirit of this temple, where many times pure libations are poured in your honor. Allow us to present you with the sweet scents of glistening ointments to drip upon your hair, garlands of flowers to place upon your head and soft neck. Come, Osiris, that we may present you with incense, and cakes sweetened with Grecian honey. Come, gentle Osiris, to this annual celebration of your birth, O ever bright, ever shining spirit, come! I.vii 43-54; 63-4
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