In this Book

summary

The Roman poet Propertius is best known as the writer who perfected the Latin love elegy, a technical as much as a psychological and cultural feat. Propertius has been admired for both his metrical genius and the modernity of his narrative flow.

Many of the poems here pay tribute to Cynthia, Propertius's romantic obsession, but the scope of these 107 elegies is broad. Propertius's poetry offers a fascinating look into life in the Augustan age, addressing social, political, and historical subjects. A contemporary of Virgil and Horace, Propertius has influenced scores of poets--from Ovid to Housman to Pound.

His poetry appears here for the first time in a dual-language edition with the translations facing the original Latin. Rendered into English by a poet who is also one of the nation's pre-eminent Propertius experts, the volume brings Propertius's difficult mix of vernacular and high literary allusion into contemporary language.

Cynthia was the first. She caught me with her eyes, a fool
who had never before been touched by desires.
Love cast down my look of constant pride,
and he pressed on my head with his feet,
until he taught me to despise chaste girls,
perversely, and to live without plan.
Already, it's been a whole year that the frenzy hasn't stopped,
when, for all that, the gods are against me.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Preserving the Metaphor: Translating Propertius
  2. Vincent Katz
  3. pp. xv-xlix
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  1. BOOK ONE
  2. pp. 52-53
  1. 1.1 “Cynthia was the first. She caught me with her eyes”
  2. pp. 3-6
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  1. 1.2 “nude Love doesn’t love artifice in beauty”
  2. pp. 7-10
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  1. 1.3 “although a pair commanded me, gripped with lust”
  2. pp. 11-14
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  1. 1.4 “Cynthia is tried by no curse more gravely / than when grace abandons her”
  2. pp. 15-18
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  1. 1.5 “she comes with a price”
  2. pp. 19-22
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  1. 1.6 “I wasn’t born to praise or fighting”
  2. pp. 23-26
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  1. 1.7 “This is how my life’s used up”
  2. pp. 27-28
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  1. 1.8 A “Can your tender feet brave the frosts?”
  2. pp. 29-30
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  1. 1.8 B “Rare Cynthia is mine!”
  2. pp. 31-32
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  1. 1.9 “I told you how love would be, and you laughed”
  2. pp. 33-36
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  1. 1.10 “not light is the medicine in my words”
  2. pp. 37-40
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  1. 1.11 “in the Bay of Naples no love is safe”
  2. pp. 41-44
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  1. 1.12 “Cynthia was the first, Cynthia will be the last”
  2. pp. 45-46
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  1. 1.13 “She will be punishment for the despised pain of all of them”
  2. pp. 47-50
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  1. 1.14 “I’ll despise Alcinous’ gifts”
  2. pp. 51-52
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  1. 1.15 “be whatever you want, just not alien”
  2. pp. 53-56
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  1. 1.16 “Once I was opened to great triumphs”
  2. pp. 57-60
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  1. 1.17 “God damn him! who first prepared ship and sail”
  2. pp. 61-64
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  1. 1.18 “let the rocks be full of your name”
  2. pp. 65-68
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  1. 1.19 “There, whatever I’ll be, I’ll always be called your image”
  2. pp. 69-70
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  1. 1.20 “You’ve been warned, Gallus: protect your love”
  2. pp. 71-74
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  1. 1.21 “Gallus . . . / tried to escape unknown hands—but was not able”
  2. pp. 75-76
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  1. 1.22 “What class I am and from where”
  2. pp. 77-78
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  1. BOOK TWO
  2. pp. 79-80
  1. 2.1 “The girl alone erects my genius”
  2. pp. 81-86
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  1. 2.2 “Love got the better of me”
  2. pp. 87-88
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  1. 2.3 “You are the first Roman girl to recline at Jove’s table”
  2. pp. 89-94
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  1. 2.4 “Let him like boys, if he will be my friend”
  2. pp. 95-96
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  1. 2.5 “this verse, Cynthia, will be your pallor”
  2. pp. 97-100
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  1. 2.6 “A wife never, never will a friend lead me astray”
  2. pp. 101-104
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  1. 2.7 “conquered nations are worth nothing in love”
  2. pp. 105-106
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  1. 2.8 “Are you going to die then, Propertius, still so young?”
  2. pp. 107-110
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  1. 2.9 A “My blood will be your greatest triumph”
  2. pp. 111-114
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  1. 2.9 B “I . . . / would not shrink from death, as long as you too die”
  2. pp. 115-116
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  1. 2.10 “it’s time to refresh Helicon with other choruses”
  2. pp. 117-120
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  1. 2.11 “Let others write about you, or you will be unknown”
  2. pp. 121-122
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  1. 2.12 “He was the first to see that lovers live without logic”
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. 2.13 A “may it please me to have recited in the arms of an educated girl”
  2. pp. 125-126
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  1. 2.13 B “My procession will be grand enough if it contains my three chapbooks”
  2. pp. 127-130
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  1. 2.14 “one more night like that, and I’ll be immortal”
  2. pp. 131-134
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  1. 2.15 “With such varied embrace we exchange positions!”
  2. pp. 135-140
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  1. 2.16 “Can just anyone purchase love with gifts?”
  2. pp. 141-146
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  1. 2.17 “Nothing on earth is harder than the life of the lover”
  2. pp. 147-148
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  1. 2.18 A “If you’ve seen something, always deny you’ve seen it!”
  2. pp. 149-150
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  1. 2.18 B “Aurora did not despise Tithonus’ aging”
  2. pp. 151-152
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  1. 2.18 C “Have you gone nuts? You imitate the painted Britons?”
  2. pp. 153-154
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  1. 2.19 “without me you’ll experience only bleak fields”
  2. pp. 155-158
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  1. 2.20 “I desist not easily, nor rashly do I begin”
  2. pp. 159-162
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  1. 2.21 “that pretty boyfriend of yours has a wife!”
  2. pp. 163-164
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  1. 2.22 A “Everywhere I go, I get lucky”
  2. pp. 165-168
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  1. 2.22 B “If you’re tough, say no: if not, come on!”
  2. pp. 169-170
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  1. 2.23 “To hell with them who keep their portals shut!”
  2. pp. 171-172
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  1. 2.24 A “it should be no wonder to you I seek out cheap girls”
  2. pp. 173-174
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  1. 2.24 B “the kind of cheap gifts that glitter on the Via Sacra”
  2. pp. 175-176
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  1. 2.24 C “Just now you were praising me and reading my poems”
  2. pp. 177-180
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  1. 2.25 “that beauty will become, through my books, the most famous”
  2. pp. 181-184
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  1. 2.26 A “I saw you in a dream, my love, in a shipwreck”
  2. pp. 185-186
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  1. 2.26 B “I hope she never says, ‘Poet, get out of my bed’”
  2. pp. 187-188
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  1. 2.26 C “A single plank will be enough to hold two lovers”
  2. pp. 189-192
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  1. 2.27 “Our head again tossed into the tumult, we moan”
  2. pp. 193-194
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  1. 2.28 A “A big mouth and beauty brought you to this”
  2. pp. 195-198
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  1. 2.28 B “The twisted rhombuses and their magic incantation have failed”
  2. pp. 199-200
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  1. 2.28 C “Neither beauty nor fortune is permanent”
  2. pp. 201-202
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  1. 2.29 A “a band of little boys . . . suddenly appeared”
  2. pp. 203-204
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  1. 2.29 B “from that moment on, I haven’t had a happy night”
  2. pp. 205-206
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  1. 2.30 A “even though you may sin, he is a forgiving god”
  2. pp. 207-208
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  1. 2.30 B “Can it be wrong to live for one woman, contented?”
  2. pp. 209-210
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  1. 2.31 “Phoebus’ golden / portico was opened by mighty Caesar”
  2. pp. 211-212
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  1. 2.32 “Whoever sees, sins”
  2. pp. 213-218
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  1. 2.33 A “Already the dreary ritual returns”
  2. pp. 219-220
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  1. 2.33 B “Languid, you drink: midnight can’t break you”
  2. pp. 221-222
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  1. 2.34 “Why would anyone entrust their mistress’ beauty to Love?”
  2. pp. 223-230
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  1. BOOK THREE
  2. pp. 231-232
  1. 3.1 “Let the verse be finished with light pumice”
  2. pp. 233-236
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  1. 3.2 “These poems will be so many monuments to your beauty”
  2. pp. 237-238
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  1. 3.3 “I had put my little mouth to this gushing source”
  2. pp. 239-242
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  1. 3.4 “The god Caesar plans war against the luxurious Indians”
  2. pp. 243-244
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  1. 3.5 “Love is a god of Peace”
  2. pp. 245-248
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  1. 3.6 “Tell me what you really know about my girl”
  2. pp. 249-252
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  1. 3.7 “Money, you are the cause of life’s problems!”
  2. pp. 253-258
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  1. 3.8 A “It’s not real passion that you don’t turn to reproaches”
  2. pp. 259-262
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  1. 3.8 B “Be happy, since no girl’s as pretty”
  2. pp. 263-264
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  1. 3.9 “Huge sails don’t fit my raft”
  2. pp. 265-270
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  1. 3.10 “May the day pass without clouds, may winds stand in the air”
  2. pp. 271-274
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  1. 3.11 “Why do you wonder if a woman perverts my life”
  2. pp. 275-280
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  1. 3.12 “may all you greedy bastards perish”
  2. pp. 281-284
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  1. 3.13 “You ask why a night with gluttonous girls costs so much”
  2. pp. 285-290
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  1. 3.14 “We marvel, Sparta, at the rules of your wrestling school”
  2. pp. 291-294
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  1. 3.15 “she knowingly moistened my raw spirit”
  2. pp. 295-298
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  1. 3.16 “Middle of the night, and a letter comes from my mistress”
  2. pp. 299-302
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  1. 3.17 “give me calm, father, and favorable sails”
  2. pp. 303-306
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  1. 3.18 “hateful Baiae . . . / what hostile god stands in your water?”
  2. pp. 307-310
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  1. 3.19 “Our lust is often tossed in my face by you”
  2. pp. 311-314
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  1. 3.20 “A stiff who could trade his girl for profit!”
  2. pp. 315-318
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  1. 3.21 “I am forced to make the Great Tour to learned Athens”
  2. pp. 319-322
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  1. 3.22 “Here, Anio, you flow through Tibur, Clitumnus near the Umbrian / path”
  2. pp. 323-326
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  1. 3.23 “It seems my clever tablets have disappeared”
  2. pp. 327-328
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  1. 3.24 “Your confidence in your beauty is unfounded, woman”
  2. pp. 329-330
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  1. 3.25 “I was a joke at dinner parties among the set tables”
  2. pp. 331-332
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  1. BOOK FOUR
  2. pp. 333-334
  1. 4.1 “Rites and holy days I’ll sing, and ancient names of places”
  2. pp. 335-348
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  1. 4.2 “learn the origins of the god Vertumnus”
  2. pp. 349-354
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  1. 4.3 “I cover the chapels with flowers, I fill the crossroads with vervain”
  2. pp. 355-360
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  1. 4.4 “a lofty dowry comes to you—Rome betrayed”
  2. pp. 361-368
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  1. 4.5 “Should she will it, loadstone will lose its power to attract iron”
  2. pp. 369-376
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  1. 4.6 “Muse, we will tell of the temple of Palatine Apollo”
  2. pp. 377-384
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  1. 4.7 “Spirits do exist. Death doesn’t end it all”
  2. pp. 385-392
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  1. 4.8 “Learn what scandalized the well-watered Esquiline last night”
  2. pp. 393-400
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  1. 4.9 “The Amphitryonid had driven the oxen through / a tempest”
  2. pp. 401-406
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  1. 4.10 “Now I begin, revealing the stories of Jove Feretrius”
  2. pp. 407-410
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  1. 4.11 “I lived distinguished between the two torches”
  2. pp. 411-418
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 419-450
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  1. Index of First Lines
  2. pp. 451-454
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  1. General Index
  2. pp. 455-470
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400884131
Print ISBN
9780691115825
MARC Record
OCLC
966912426
Pages
520
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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