Propertius, Elegies

LCL 18: 106-107

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sed neque Phlegraeos Iovis Enceladique tumultus 40intonet angusto pectore Callimachus, nec mea conveniunt duro praecordia versu Caesaris in Phrygios condere nomen avos. navita de ventis, de tauris narrat arator, enumerat miles vulnera, pastor oves; 45nos contra angusto versamus proelia lecto: qua pote quisque, in ea conterat arte diem.

laus in amore mori: laus altera, si datur uno posse frui: fruar o solus amore meo, [si memini, solet illa levis culpare puellas, 50et totam ex Helena non probat Iliada.] seu mihi sunt tangenda novercae pocula Phaedrae, pocula privigno non nocitura suo, seu mihi Circaeo pereundumst gramine, sive Colchis Iolciacis urat aëna focis. 55una meos quoniam praedatast femina sensus, ex hac ducentur funera nostra domo.

omnis humanos sanat medicina dolores: solus amor morbi non amat artificem. tarda Philoctetae sanavit crura Machaon, 60Phoenicis Chiron lumina Phillyrides, et deus exstinctum Cressis Epidaurius herbis restituit patriis Androgeona focis, Mysus et Haemonia iuvenis qua cuspide vulnus senserat, hac ipsa cuspide sensit opem. 65hoc si quis vitium poterit mihi demere, solus Tantaleae poterit tradere poma manu;

  • 45versamus Volscus: -antes Ω
  • 49,50 secl. Carutti

Book II

But neither would the slender utterance of Callimachus suffice to thunder forth the battle waged on Phlegra’s plain between Jove and Enceladus, nor are my powers fitted to enshrine in martial strains the name of Caesar among his Phrygian ancestors. The sailor tells of winds, the ploughman of oxen; the soldier counts his wounds, the shepherd his sheep; I for my part wage wars within the narrow confines of a bed: let everyone spend his life in the trade he practises best.

To die in love is glory: and glory yet again to enjoy a single love: O may I alone enjoy the love that is mine, [as I recall, she likes to blame fickle girls and on Helen’s account censures the whole Iliad] though I be doomed to taste the potion of stepmother Phaedra, a potion not destined to corrupt her stepson, though I have to die of Circe’s herbs, or the Colchian witch heat for me her cauldron upon the hearths of Iolcos. Since one woman has stolen away my feelings, from her house only will my funeral train set forth.

Medicine can cure all human pains: only love loves not a doctor of its disease. Machaon healed the lame legs of Philoctetes, and Chiron, son of Phillyra, the blindness of Phoenix; and the god of Epidaurus by his Cretan herbs restored the lifeless Androgeon to his father’s hearth; and the Mysian prince who received his wound from the Thessalian’s spear, from the selfsame spear received its cure. Only a man who can rid me of this failing will be able to put fruit in Tantalus’ hand; he too will fill the casks from

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.propertius-elegies.1990