In the time of Julius Caesar the lively poet Catullus captured the tragic tale of the Great Mother, Cybele, and her extreme admirer, Attis. [WARNING: This poem involves adult themes, and the prosody is tough at points too.]

Catullus LXIII (translation)

   SVPER alta uectus Attis celeri rate maria,
Phrygium ut nemus citato cupide pede tetigit,
adiitque opaca siluis redimita loca deae,
stimulatus ibi furenti rabie, uagus animis,
deuolsit ili acuto sibi pondera silice,
itaque ut relicta sensit sibi membra sine uiro,
etiam recente terrae sola sanguine maculans,
niueis citata cepit manibus leue typanum,
typanum tuum, Cybebe, tua, mater initia,
quatiensque terga tauri teneris caua digitis
canere haec suis adorta est tremebunda comitibus.
'agite ite ad alta, Gallae, Cybeles nemora simul,
simul ite, Dindymenae dominae uaga pecora,
aliena quae petentes uelut exules loca
sectam meam exsecutae duce me mihi comites
rapidum salum tulistis truculentaque pelagi
et corpus euirastis Veneris nimio odio;
hilarate erae citatis erroribus animum.
mora tarda mente cedat: simul ite, sequimini
Phrygiam ad domum Cybebes, Phrygia ad nemora deae,
ubi cymbalum sonat uox, ubi tympana reboant,
tibicen ubi canit Phryx curuo graue calamo,
ubi capita Maenades ui iaciunt hederigerae,
ubi sacra sancta acutis ululatibus agitant,
ubi sueuit illa diuae uolitare uaga cohors,
quo nos decet citatis celerare tripudiis.'
   simul haec comitibus Attis cecinit notha mulier,
thiasus repente linguis trepidantibus ululat,
leue tympanum remugit, caua cymbala recrepant.
uiridem citus adit Idam properante pede chorus.
furibunda simul anhelans uaga uadit animam agens
comitata tympano Attis per opaca nemora dux,
ueluti iuuenca uitans onus indomita iugi;
rapidae ducem sequuntur Gallae properipedem.
itaque, ut domum Cybebes tetigere lassulae,
nimio e labore somnum capiunt sine Cerere.
piger his labante languore oculos sopor operit;
abit in quiete molli rabidus furor animi.
sed ubi oris aurei Sol radiantibus oculis
lustrauit aethera album, sola dura, mare ferum,
pepulitque noctis umbras uegetis sonipedibus,
ibi Somnus excitam Attin fugiens citus abiit;
trepidante eum recepit dea Pasithea sinu.
ita de quiete molli rapida sine rabie
simul ipsa pectore Attis sua facta recoluit,
liquidaque mente uidit sine quis ubique foret,
animo aestuante rusum reditum ad uada tetulit.
ibi maria uasta uisens lacrimantibus oculis,
patriam allocuta maestast ita uoce miseriter.
   'patria o mei creatrix, patria o mea genetrix,
ego quam miser relinquens, dominos ut erifugae
famuli solent, ad Idae tetuli nemora pedem,
ut aput niuem et ferarum gelida stabula forem,
et earum omnia adirem furibunda latibula,
ubinam aut quibus locis te positam, patria, reor?
cupit ipsa pupula ad te sibi derigere aciem,
rabie fera carens dum breue tempus animus est.
egone a mea remota haec ferar in nemora domo?
patria, bonis, amicis, genitoribus abero?
abero foro, palaestra, stadio et gyminasiis?
miser a miser, querendum est etiam atque etiam, anime.
quod enim genus figurast, ego non quod obierim?
ego mulier, ego adulescens, ego ephebus, ego puer,
ego gymnasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei:
mihi ianuae frequentes, mihi limina tepida,
mihi floridis corollis redimita domus erat,
linquendum ubi esset orto mihi Sole cubiculum.
ego nunc deum ministra et Cybeles famula ferar?
ego Maenas, ego mei pars, ego uir sterilis ero?
ego uiridis algida Idae niue amicta loca colam?
ego uitam agam sub altis Phrygiae columinibus,
ubi cerua siluicultrix, ubi aper nemoriuagus?
iam iam dolet quod egi, iam iamque paenitet.'
   roseis ut huic labellis sonitus citus abiit
geminas deorum ad aures noua nuntia referens,
ibi iuncta iuga resoluens Cybele leonibus
laeuumque pecoris hostem stimulans ita loquitur.
'agedum,' inquit 'age ferox i> fac ut hunc furor
fac uti furoris ictu reditum in nemora ferat,
mea libere nimis qui fugere imperia cupit.
age caede terga cauda, tua uerbera patere,
fac cuncta mugienti fremitu loca retonent,
rutilam ferox torosa ceruice quate iubam.'
ait haec minax Cybebe religatque iuga manu.
ferus ipse sese adhortans rapidum incitat animo,
uadit, fremit, refringit uirgulta pede uago.
at ubi umida albicantis loca litoris adiit,
teneramque uidit Attin prope marmora pelagi,
facit impetum. illa demens fugit in nemora fera;
ibi semper omne uitae spatium famula fuit.
   dea, magna dea, Cybebe, dea domina Dindymi,
procul a mea tuos sit furor omnis, era, domo:
alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos.

Translation by Leigh Hunt

Atys o'er the distant waters, driving in his rapid bark,
Soon with foot of wild impatience touched the Phrygian forest dark,
Where amid the awful shades possessed by mighty Cybele,
In his zealous frenzy blind,
And wand'ring in his hapless mind,
Wih flinty knife he gave to earth the weights that stamp virility.
Then as the widowed being saw its wretched limbs bereft of man,
And the unaccustomed blood that on the ground polluting ran,
With snowy hand it snatched in haste the timbrel's airy round on high
That opens with the trumpet's blast thy rites, Maternal Mystery;
And upon its whirling fingers, while the hollow parchment rung,
Thus in outcry tremulous to its wild companions sung:--
"Now come along, come along with me,
Worshippers of Cybele,
To the lofty groves of the deity!
Ye vagabond herds that bear the name
Of the Dindymenian dame!
Who seeking strange lands, like the banished of home,
With Atys, with Atys distractedly roam;
Who your limbs have unmanned in a desperate hour
With a frantic disdain of the Cyprian's power;
Who have carried my sect through the dreadful salt sea,
Rouse, rouse your wild spirits careeringly!
No delay, no delay,
But together away,
And follow me up to the dame all-compelling,
To her high Phrygian groves and her dark Phrygian dwelling,
Where the cymbals they clash, and the drums they resound,
And the Phrygian's curved pipe pours its moanings around,
Where the ivy-crowned priestesses toss with their brows,
And send the shrill howl through their deity's house,
Where they shriek, and they scour, and they madden about,--
'Tis there we go bounding in mystical rout."

No sooner had spoken
This voice half-broken,
When suddenly from quivering tongues arose the universal cry,
The timbrels with a boom resound, the cymbals with a clash reply,
And up the verdant Ida with a quickened step the chorus flew,
While Atys with the timbrel's smite the terrible procession drew;
Raging, panting, wild, and witless, through the sullen shades it broke,
Like the fierce unconqered heifer bursting from her galing yoke;
And on pursue the sacred crew, till at the door of Cybele,
Faint and fasting, down the sink in pale immovability:
The heavy sleep,--the heavy sleep--grows o'er their failing eyes,
And locked in dead repose the rabid frenzy lies.

But when the Sun looked out with eyes of light
Round the firm earth, wild seas, and skies of mourning white,
Scaring the lingering shades
With echo-footed steeds,
Sleep sped in flight from Atys, hurrying
To his Pasithea's arms on tremulous wing;
And the poor dreamer woke, oppressed with sadness,
To memory woke and to collect madness--
Struck with its loss, with what it was, and where,
Back trod the wretched being in despair
To the seashore, and stretching forth its eye
O'er the wide waste of waters and of sky
Thus to its country cried with tears of misery:--
"My country, oh my country, parent state,
Whom, like a very slave and runagate,
Wretch that I am, I left for wilds like these,
This wilderness of snow and matted trees,
To house with shivering beasts and learn their wants,
A fierce intruder on their sullen haunts--
Where shall I fancy the? Where cheat mine eye
With tracking out thy quarter in the sky?
Fain, while my wits a little space are free,
Would my poor eye-balls strain their points on thee!
Am I then torn from home and far away?
Doomed through these woods to tample, day by day,
Far from my kindred, friends, and native soil,
The mall, the race, and wrestlers bright with oil?
Ah, wretch, bewail, bewail; and think for this
On all thy past variety of bliss!
I was the charm of life, the social spring,
First in the race and brightest in the ring;
Warm with the stir of welcome was my home,
And when I rose betimes my friends would come
Smiling and pressing in officious scores,
Thick as the flowers that hang at lover's doors.
And shall I then a ministring madman be
To angry gods, a howling devotee,
A slave to bear what never senses can,
Half of myself, sexless, a sterile man?
And must I feel, with never-varied woes,
Th' o'erhanging winter of these mountain snows,
Skulking through ghastly woods for evermore,
Like the lean stag or the brute vagrant boar?
Ah me, ah me, already I repent;
E'en now, e'en now I feel my shame and punishment!"

As thus with rosy lips the wretch grew loud,
Startling the ears of heaven's imperial crowd,
The Mighty Mistress o'er her lion yoke
Bowed in her wrath; and loosening, as she spoke,
The left-hand savage, scatterer of herds,
Roused his fell nature with impetuous words:--
"Fly, ruffian, fly, indignant and amain,
And scare this being who resists my reign,
Back to the horror-breathing woods again.
Lash thee, and fly, and shake with sinewy might
Thine ireful hair, and as at dead of night
Fill the wide echoes with rebellowing fright."
Threatening she spoke, and loosed the vengeance dire,
Who, gathering all his rage and glaring fire,
Starts with a roar and scours beneath her eyes,
Scattering the splintered bushes as he flies.
Down by the sea he spies the wretch at last
And springs precipitous:--the wretch as fast
Flies raving back into his living grave,
And there for ever dwells, a savage and a slave.

O Goddess! Mistress! Cybele! dread name!
O mighty power! O Dindymenian dame!
Far from my home thy visitations be:
Drive others mad, not me:
Drive others in impulse wild and fierce insanity!