In Despair The Canon
He’s lost him utterly.          And from now on he seeks
in the lips of every new          lover that he takes
the lips of that one: his.          Coupling with every new
lover that he takes          he longs to be mistaken:
that it’s the same young man,          that he’s giving himself to him.
He’s lost him utterly,              as if he’d never been.
Because he wished—he said—          he wished to save himself
from that stigmatized           pleasure, so unwholesome;
from that stigmatized          pleasure, in its shame.
He said there was still time—          time to save himself.
He’s lost him utterly,          as if he’d never been.
In his imagination,          in his vain delusions
in the lips of other youths          he searches for his lips;
He wishes that he might         feel his love again.

Translated by Daniel Mendelsohn

- Original Greek Poem

- Translation by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard