Nec tu difficilis puero tamen esse memento:
Persequitur poenis tristia facta Venus....
At tu, dum primi floret tibi temporis aetas,
Utere: non tardo labitur illa pede.
Neu Marathum torque: puero quae gloria victo est?
In veteres esto dura, puella, senes.
Parce precor tenero:...
Desistas lacrimare, puer: non frangitur illa,
Et tua iam fletu lumina fessa tument.
Oderunt, Pholoe, moneo, fastidia divi,
Nec prodest sanctis tura dedisse focis.
Hic Marathus quondam miseros ludebat amantes,
Nescius ultorem post caput esse deum;
Saepe etiam lacrimas fertur risisse dolentis
Et cupidum ficta detinuisse mora:
Nunc omnes odit fastus, nunc displicet illi
Quaecumque obposita est ianua dura sera.
At te poena manet, ni desinis esse superba.
Quam cupies votis hunc revocare diem!
--Tibullus, Carm I.8.27-28, 47-51, 67-78
Pholoe, remember to not be so hard on the poor boy (puero),
Or Venus, the goddess of love herself, will smite you for your wretched deeds.
But remember to use your beauty while it’s in bloom; it does not last for long.
Stop torturing my boyfriend Marathus: what good in there in gloating over a defeated lover?
It’s totally ok to be mean to creepy old men, but go easy on this tender teen.
And you, Marathus, stop crying: her mind’s made up, her behavior won’t change, she’s just making your eyes all puffy and swollen from crying.
But I warn you, Pholoe, the gods hate the hard-hearted, and they won’t listen to your lip service.
Marathus used to play these games with his wretched partners (amantes), not knowing that the love god had a bounty on his head. He often used to laugh at his lover’s tears, and stand up his dates with made-up excuses. And now he hates the dating game, now he hates excuses and games.
Learn from his mistakes, don’t be as hard-hearted as him, or you’ll rue the day you acted this way!
Name: Albius Tibullus
Date: 55 – 19 BCE
Tibullus was an Italian born equestrian Roman who lived during the tumultuous transition of Roman government from republic to monarchy.
His volumes of elegies provide insight into the lives and customs of Roman aristocrats. Like Catullus and Propertius, Tibullus used a pseudonym for the objects of his attention; many of his love poems were addressed to either “Delia” or “Marathus.”
GOLDEN AGE ROME