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…

Tibullus, 1.1-6: Poverty is Better than Gold

“Let someone else pile up gleaming gold
And hold as many lots of well-plowed land,
Let constant labor frighten him when an enemy’s near
As war’s clarion blasts send his sleep to flight.
But may my poverty guide me through a settled life
as long as my hearth shines with a tireless light.”



Divitias alius fulvo sibi congerat auro
Et teneat culti iugera multa soli,
Quem labor adsiduus vicino terreat hoste,
Martia cui somnos classica pulsa fugent:
Me mea paupertas vita traducat inerti,               5
Dum meus adsiduo luceat igne focus.

Yeah, I am still a sucker for Tibullus. But Quintilian agrees with me. And with recent fluctuations in the commodity market, who’s to say that leisure might not be worth more than gold? (It is certainly more pleasant than war…)