Tibullus, I.2 1-6: Knock, Knock, Knocking on [Delia’s] Door

“Fill up my drink: suppress new pains with wine
So that sleep may take eyes held by exhaustion;
May no one interrupt a man concussed by great Bacchus,
But let a barren love rest.
A savage guard has been set for my girl:
She is locked inside and the doors are bolted closed.”

Adde merum vinoque novos conpesce dolores,
Occupet ut fessi lumina victa sopor,
Neu quisquam multo percussum tempora baccho
Excitet, infelix dum requiescit amor.
Nam posita est nostrae custodia saeva puellae, 5
Clauditur et dura ianua firma sera.

This poem had me until the locked door…This is an example of a motif of a lover sitting outside a locked door, called paraklausithyron. (I can only imagine that a depressed graduate student made the Wikipedia entry). When I first learned about this, the name and the phenomenon’s specificity disturbed me. But, I guess I understand the motif’s attraction–we’re all on the side of some door or another, right?

Sing it Bob…

Well, that didn’t do it. Ok, sing it Axl…

4 thoughts on “Tibullus, I.2 1-6: Knock, Knock, Knocking on [Delia’s] Door

  1. There must be a drink to put the guard to sleep. Helen had a drink for Telemachus. Perhaps, that can work. I like the last comment of yours. We are indeed on one side or the other of some door. Are we going to knock, wait the other person to open or force in? Decisions, decisions…. Happy Friday!

    1. In Roman Elegy, breaking the doors down rarely turns out well.

      But a poem’s world and the ‘real’ world are not always the same.

      I think in the poem, as it turns out, the real prison is the speaker’s uncontrollable love…

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