Foedera per divos, clam violanda, dabas?
Parcite, caelestes: aequum est inpune licere 5
Numina formosis laedere vestra semel.
Muneribus meus est captus puer, at deus illa
In cunerem et liquidas munera vertat aquas.
Iam mihi persolvet poenas, pulvisque decorem
Detrahet et ventis horrida facta coma;
Uretur facies, urentur sole capilli, 15
Deteret invalidos et via longa pedes.
Admonui quotiens 'auro ne pollue formam:
Saepe solent auro multa subesse mala.
Divitiis captus siquis violavit amorem,
Asperaque est illi difficilisque Venus. 20
Haec ego dicebam: nunc me flevisse loquentem,
Nunc pudet ad teneros procubuisse pedes. 30
Tum mihi iurabas nullo te divitis auri
Pondere, non gemmis, vendere velle fidem,
Non tibi si pretium Campania terra daretur,
Non tibi si, Bacchi cura, Falernus ager.
Illis eriperes verbis mihi sidera caeli 35
Lucere et puras fulminis esse vias.
Quin etiam flebas: at non ego fallere doctus
Tergebam umentes credulus usque genas.
Quid faciam, nisi et ipse fores in amore puellae?
Sed precor exemplo sit levis illa tuo. 40
O quotiens, verbis ne quisquam conscius esset,
Ipse comes multa lumina nocte tuli!
Saepe insperanti venit tibi munere nostro
Et latuit clausas post adoperta fores.
Tum miser interii, stulte confisus amari: 45
Nam poteram ad laqueos cautior esse tuos.
Quin etiam adtonita laudes tibi mente canebam,
Et me nunc nostri Pieridumque pudet.
At te, qui puerum donis corrumpere es ausus,
Rideat adsiduis uxor inulta dolis,
Tune putas illam pro te disponere crines
Aut tenues denso pectere dente comas?
Ista haec persuadet facies, auroque lacertos
Vinciat et Tyrio prodeat apta sinu? 70
Non tibi, sed iuveni cuidam volt bella videri,
Devoveat pro quo remque domumque tuam....
Blanditiasne meas aliis tu vendere es ausus?
Tune aliis demens oscula ferre mea?
Tum flebis, cum me vinctum puer alter habebit
Et geret in regno regna superba tuo. 80
At tua tum me poena iuvet...
--Tibullus, Carm. I.9.1-2,5-6, 11-20, 29-47,53-54,67-72,75,77-84
If you were only going to hurt me,
Why would you commit to a trusting relationship (foedera) with me, only to violate it?
O gods, go easy on him: it’s alright for someone so pretty to break your oaths—just once.
You see, my boyfriend (puer) is mesmerized by gifts; but someday, a god will take those gifts and they will vanish into thin air.
One day he’ll come back to me, penitent, when dust smudges his beauty, strong winds muss his pretty little hairdo, his face will be sunburnt, his hair will be sun-scorched, too; walking the long, lonely road will blister his pretty little feet.
Time and again I warned him, “stop being a gold-digger; these free gifts come with price tags that you’ll have to pay for soon enough. Someone smitten by wealth who breaks off a relationship will have a tough time with lady Love later."
Oh, how often I said this! And how it shames me to admit, I said it groveling at your feet, weeping. And oh, you swore to me that you would never betray my trust for any weight of gold, nor gems, nor any rich villa in the Campanian countryside, nor any Falernian vineyard. Oh, and I believed you then! You made me believe those words were pure as the stars’ twinkling light.
Oh, and you were crying too: and I, having never been deceived before, I didn’t know any better, I believed you! And I wiped away your tears from your wet cheeks. What would I do? Would I treat you differently if you were in love with a girl?
But you, Mister Sugar-Daddy, who try to corrupt my Marathus with gifts, your wife is going to mock you when she finds out about your schemes, or worse, when she starts to date him, too!
Aww, you think she’s wearing a new hairdo *for you*?
You think her makeup is done *for you*?
You think she’s wearing her pretty purple gown, her jewelry *for you*?
Nope, she’s not doing this for you, she’s looking pretty for her pretty little man, she’d offer him her whole world—and your house, too.
So Marathus, little Mister Gold-Digger, you thought you could break my trust? You crazily thought you’d steal my kisses, too? You’re gonna weep, when I have a new boyfriend (puer), and he’s my entire world, not you!
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