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Which wealth cold winter doth on thee bestow.
Either thou'rt muddy in mid-rinter tide,
Or, full of dust, dost on the dry earth slide.
What thirsty traveller ever drunk of thce ?
Who said with grateful voice, “ Perpetual be?”
Harmful to beasts and to the fields thou proves :
Perchance these others, me mine own loss moves.
To this I fondly loves of floods told plainly;
I shame so great names to have us'd so vainly.
I know not what expecting, I erewhile
Nam'd Achelöus, Inachus, and Nile.
But for thy merits I wish thee, white stream,
Dry winters aye, and suns in heat extreme.
IF Thetis and the Morn their sons did wail,
And envious Fates great goddesses assail,
Sad Elegy, thy woful hairs unbind :
Ah, now a name too true thou hast I find !
Tibullus, thy work's poet, and thy fame,
Burns his dead body in the funeral flame.
Lo, Cupid brings his quiver spoiled quite,
His broken bow, his firebrand without light!
How piteously with drooping wings he stands,
And knocks his bare breast with self-angry hands !
The locks spread on his neck reccivo his tears,
And shaking sobs his mouth for speeches bears :
So at Æneas' burial, men report,
Fair-fac'd lülus, he went forth thy court:
And Venus' grieves, Tibullus' life being spent,
As when the wild boar Adon's groin had rent.
The gods' care we are call’d, and men of piety,
And some there be that think we have a deity.
Outrageous death profanes all holy things,
And on all creatures obscure darkness brings.
To Thracian Orpheus what did parents good,
Or songs amazing wild beasts of the wood ?
Where Linus, by his father Phoebus laid,
To sing with his unequallid harp is said.
See, Homer, from whose fountain ever fill'd
Pierian dew to poets is distillid !
Him the last day in black Avern hath drown'd:
Verses alone are with continuance crown'd.
The work of poets lasts; Troy's labour's fame,
And that slow web night's falsehood did unframe.
So Nemesis, so Delia famous are ;
The one his first love, th' other his new care.
What profit to us bath our pure life bred ?
What to have lain alone in empty bed ?
When bad Fates take good men, I am forbod
By secret thoughts to think there is a god.
Live godly, thou shalt die ; though honour heaven,
Yet shall thy life be forcibly bereaven :
Trust in good verse, Tibullus feels death's pains;
Scarce rests of all what a small urn contains.
Thee, sacred poet, could sad flames destroy ?
Nor feared they thy body to annoy?
The holy gods' gilt temples they might fire,
That durst to so great wickedness aspire.
Eryx' bright empress turn'd her looks aside,
And some, that she refrain'd tears, have denied.
Yet better is't, than if Corcyra's isle
Had thee unknown interr'd in ground most vile.
Thy dying eyes here did thy mother close,
Nor did thy ashes her last offerings lose.
Part of her sorrow here thy sister bearing,
Comes forth, her unkemb'd locks asunder tearing.
Nemesis and thy first wench join their kisses
With thine, nor this last fire their presence misses.
Delia departing, Happier lov’d,” she saith,
"Was I: thou liv’dst, while thou esteem'd'st my
Nemesis answers, "What's my loss to thee !
His fainting hand in death engrasped me."
If aught remains of us but name and spirit,
Tibullus doth Elysium's joy inherit.
Their youthful brows with ivy girt, to meet him,
With Calvus, learn'd Catullus comes and greet him;
And thou, if falsely charg'd to wrong thy friend,
Gallus, that car'd'st not blood and life to spend.
With these thy soul walks, souls if death release :
The godly sweet Tibullus doth increase.
Thy bones, I pray, may in the urn safe rest,
And may th' earth's weight thy ashes naught molest !
DELIBERATIO POETÆ, UTRUM ELEGOS PERGAT SCRIBERE
An old wood stands, uncut of long years' space :
'Tis credible some god-head haunts the place ;
In midst thereof a stone-pav'd sacred spring,
Where round about small birds most sweetly sing.
Here while I walk, hid close in shady grove,
To find what work my Muse might move, I strove,
Elegia came with hairs perfumèd sweet,
And one, I think, was longer, of her feet :
A decent form, thin robe, a lover's look ;
By her foot's blemish greater grace she took.
Then with huge steps came violent Tragedy:
Stern was her front, her cloak on ground did lie;
Her left hand held abroad a regal sceptre ;
The Lydian buskin in fit paces kept her.
And first she said, “When will thy love be spent,
O poet careless of thy argument?
Wine-bibbing banquets tell thy naughtiness,
Each cross-way's corner doth as much express.
Oft some points at the prophet passing by,
And 'this is he whom fierce love burns,' they cry.
A laughing stock thou art to all the city,
While without shame thou sing'st thy lewdness ditty.
'Tis time to move grave things in lofty style ;
Long hast thou loiter'd ; greater works compile.
The subject hides thy wit: men's acts resound;
This thou wilt say to be a worthy ground.
Thy Muse hath play'd what may mild girls content,
And by those numbers is thy first youth speut.
Now give the Roman Tragedy a name;
To fill my laws thy wanton spirit frame.”
This said, she mov'd her buskins gaily varnishi’d,
And seven times shook her head with thick locks
The other smiled (I wot) with wanton eyes :
Err I, or myrtle in her right hand lies ?
“ With lofty words, stout Tragedy,” she said,
“Why treadest me down ? art thou aye gravely play'd ?
Thou deign’st unequal lines should thee rehearse ;
Thou fight'st against me, using mine own verse.
Thy lofty style with mine I not compare :
Small doors unfitting for large houses are.
Light am I, nd with me, my care, light Love;
Not stronger am I than the thing I move.
Venus without me should be rustical ;
This goddess' company doth to me befal.
What gate thy stately words cannot unlock,
Dy flattering speeches soon wide-open knock.
And I deserve more than thou canst in verity,
By suffering much not borne by thy severity.
By me Corinna learns, cozening her guard,
To get the door with little noise un barr'd ;
And slipp'd from bed, cloth'd in a loose night-gown,
To move her feet unheard in setting down.
Ah, how oft on hard doors hung I engravid,