from "DELIA" I THE TRUE LIFE
Albius Tibullustr. A. S. Kline
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,
Iam modo iam possim contentus vivere parvo
Nec semper longae deditus esse viae,
Sed Canis aestivos ortus vitare sub umbra
Arboris ad rivos praetereuntis aquae.
Nec tamen interdum pudeat tenuisse bidentem
Aut stimulo tardos increpuisse boves,
Non agnamve sinu pigeat fetumve capellae
Desertum oblita matre referre domum.
Ipse seram teneras maturo tempore vites
Rusticus et facili grandia poma manu;
Nec spes destituat, sed frugum semper acervos
Praebeat et pleno pinguia musta lacu.
Nam veneror, seu stipes habet desertus in agris
Seu vetus in trivio florida serta lapis,
Et quodcumque mihi pomum novus educat annus,
Libatum agricolae ponitur ante deo.
Flava Ceres, tibi sit nostro de rure corona
Spicea, quae templi pendeat ante fores,
Pomosisque ruber custos ponatur in hortis,
Terreat ut saeva falce Priapus aves.
Vos quoque, felicis quondam, nunc pauperis agri
Custodes, fertis munera vestra, Lares.
Tunc vitula innumeros lustrabat caesa iuvencos,
Nunc agna exigui est hostia parva soli.
Agna cadet vobis, quam circum rustica pubes
Clamet 'io messes et bona vina date'.
At vos exiguo pecori, furesque lupique,
Parcite: de magno est praeda petenda grege.
Hic ego pastoremque meum lustrare quotannis
Et placidam soleo spargere lacte Palem.
Adsitis, divi, neu vos e paupere mensa
Dona nec e puris spernite fictilibus.
Fictilia antiquus primum sibi fecit agrestis
Pocula, de facili conposuitque luto.
Non ego divitias patrum fructusque requiro,
Quos tulit antiquo condita messis avo:
Parva seges satis est, satis requiescere lecto
Si licet et solito membra levare toro.
Quam iuvat inmites ventos audire cubantem
Et dominam tenero continuisse sinu
Aut, gelidas hibernus aquas cum fuderit Auster,
Securum somnos igne iuvante sequi.
Hoc mihi contingat. Sit dives iure, furorem
Qui maris et tristes ferre potest pluvias.
O quantum est auri pereat potiusque smaragdi,
Quam fleat ob nostras ulla puella vias.
Te bellare decet terra, Messalla, marique,
Ut domus hostiles praeferat exuvias;
Me retinent vinctum formosae vincla puellae,
Et sedeo duras ianitor ante fores.
Non ego laudari curo, mea Delia; tecum
Dum modo sim, quaeso segnis inersque vocer.
Te spectem, suprema mihi cum venerit hora,
Te teneam moriens deficiente manu.
Flebis et arsuro positum me, Delia, lecto,
Tristibus et lacrimis oscula mixta dabis.
Flebis: non tua sunt duro praecordia ferro
Vincta, neque in tenero stat tibi corde silex.
Illo non iuvenis poterit de funere quisquam
Lumina, non virgo, sicca referre domum.
Tu manes ne laede meos, sed parce solutis
Crinibus et teneris, Delia, parce genis.
Interea, dum fata sinunt, iungamus amores:
Iam veniet tenebris Mors adoperta caput,
Iam subrepet iners aetas, nec amare decebit,
Dicere nec cano blanditias capite.
Nunc levis est tractanda Venus, dum frangere postes
Non pudet et rixas inseruisse iuvat.
Hic ego dux milesque bonus: vos, signa tubaeque,
Ite procul, cupidis volnera ferte viris,
Ferte et opes: ego conposito securus acervo
Despiciam dites despiciamque famem.
Let other men gather bright gold to themselves
and own many acres of well-ploughed soil,
let endless worry trouble them, with enemies nearby,
and the peals of the war-trumpets driving away sleep:
let my moderate means lead me to a quiet life,
as long as my fireside glows with endless flame.
If only I might now be happy to live with little,
and not always be addicted to distant journeys,
but avoid the rising Dog-starís summer heat
in the shade of a tree by a stream of running water.
Nor be ashamed to take up the hoe at times
or rebuke the lazy oxen with a goad:
or object to carrying a ewe-lamb home
or a young kid deserted by its mother.
Let me plant the tender vines at the proper time,
tall fruit-trees, myself a rustic, with skilled hands:
nor let hope fail, but deliver the piled-up fruits,
and the rich vintage in overflowing vats,
since I worship wherever thereís a stump left in the fields,
or an old stone at the crossroads, wreathed with flowers:
and whatever fruit of mine the new season brings
I set as an offering before the god of the fields.
Golden Ceres, a spiked crown is yours from my estate,
one that is hung before the doors to your temple:
and blushing Priapus is set as a guard on the orchards
to terrorise the birds with his cruel hook.
You too, accept your gifts, Lares, guardians
of impoverished fields that once were fruitful.
Then a slaughtered calf purified countless heifers:
now a lambís the poor sacrifice of my meagre land.
A lamb shall fall to you, round which the rustic youths
will shout: "Hurrah, give us good crops and wine!"
But you, wolves and thieves, spare my meagre flocks:
you must take your pillage from greater herds.
This is what I have to purify my herdsmen
and sprinkle gentle Pales with milk.
Gods, be with me, and do not scorn whatís given
from a humble table in pure earthenware.
The cups were earthenware the ancients made,
at first, themselves, from ductile clay.
I donít need the wealth of my forefathers,
that the harvest brought my distant ancestors:
a little fieldís enough: enough to sleep in peace,
and rest my limbs on the accustomed bed
What joy to hear the raging winds as I lie there
holding my girl to my tender breast,
or when a wintry Southerly pours its icy showers,
sleep soundly helped by an accompanying fire!
Let this be mine: let him be rich, of right,
who can stand the raging sea and the mournful rain.
O, let as much gold, and emeralds more, be lost
as the tears any girl might weep for my travels.
Itís right for you to war by land and sea, Messalla,
so that your house might display the enemy spoils:
the ties of a lovely girl bind me captive,
and I sit a doorman before her harsh entrance.
I donít care for praise, my Delia: only let me be
with you, and pray let me be called idle and lazy.
Let me gaze on you, when my last hour has come,
hold you, as I die, in my failing grasp.
Youíll weep for me, laid on my pyre, Delia,
and grant me kisses mixed with your sad tears.
Youíll weep: your mindís not bound with cold steel,
nor is there flint within your tender heart.
No young man or young girl will return home
with dry eyes from that funeral.
Donít wound my ghost, Delia, but spare
your tender cheeks and your loosened hair.
Meanwhile, while fate allows, letís join in love:
soon Death comes with his dark shrouded head:
soon weakened age steals on, and loveís not fitting
nor speaking flatteries when your hair is white.
Nowís the time for sweet love, while thereís no shame
in breaking doors down, while itís joy to pick a fight.
Here Iím a general and brave soldier both: away
standards and trumpets, bear wounds to greedy men,
and take them wealth: I safe with my gathered store
will despise their riches, and despise all hunger too.

Transl. Copyright © A. S. Kline 2001


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