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ALBII TIBVLLI ELEGIARVM
Divitias alius fulvo sibi congerat auro et teneat culti iugera multa soli,
1. 2. multa GPM magna AVY.
Written probably in the early part of B.C. 29 (cf. Intr. § 23), perhaps on his country estate at Pedum. This elegy stands at the head of the collection, not chronologically, but as a typical representative of the work of Tibullus, setting forth his tastes and ideals, and serving as a kind of a dedication of Book I to Delia, who is here brought forward as the center of his hopes and joys. The poet signifies his preference for living in peaceful retirement on his family estates, enjoying the delights and freedom of rural life rather than encountering the hardships and perils of a soldier, even for the wealth that might be thus acquired. The acme of his hopes, however, is to be found in the continuance of the favor of his beloved Delia till his dying day.
Haase, Ribbeck, Baehrens, and
others, by their transposition of verses, have wrought havoc with the gentle ebb and flow of the poetic thought so characteristic of Tibullus, which is illustrated in this poem as well as in any. The theme, briefly stated in vv. 1-14, is twice repeated in reverse order (15-36, 37–50), and the third time (51-78) the erotic element in his longing for a quiet stay-at-home life is expanded to the end of the elegy. Cf. Vahlen, Monatsber. d. Ber. Akad. 1878, pp. 343 sqq.; Leo, pp. 28 sqq. For a more artificial analysis cf. K. P. H. in PAPA., Vol. 26 (1895), p. viii. For an appreciation of the genuineness of its feeling, cf. Reitzenstein in Hermes 47 (1912), pp. 60-116.
1-14: Let another endure the hardships and risks of a soldier's life for the wealth that he may thus gain but let me rather pass my days in the quiet, humble
quem labor adsiduus vicino terreat hoste, Martia cui somnos classica pulsa fugent:
country life of my own little farm, thanking the gods for a modest competence.' 15-36: (The previous thought in reverse order), 'To you, rustic divinities of my now humble possessions, will I offer appropriate sacrifices, if only you will let me enjoy them in peace, be my own gardener, my own shepherd, and be undisturbed by either thieves or wolves.' 3750: The same thought expressed for the third time, in the same order as in the previous section. In v. 46 the erotic element is introduced, to be expanded in the last division of the elegy. 51-78: 'Yes, Messalla and his legions shall win their trophies on land and sea; but as for me, let me enjoy my Delia's unfailing love while life endures, and live contented with my little store.'
1. fulvo: cf. 2, 1, 88. - congerat: hort. subj. — auro: abl. instr.
2. culti... soli: the well-tilled farms of other owners were often confiscated and allotted by victorious generals to their soldiers, as by Augustus more than once. The story of the loss and recovery of Vergil's estates near Mantua is well known; it is not impossible that Tibullus may have had some similar experience, to which reference is made in the various passages suggesting that his wealth had been seriously diminished,
such as vv. 5, 19-20, 37, 41. Gold and lands were the two sources of wealth for which Roman soldiers followed their profession. Ullman, however, argues (AJP., Vol. 33 (1912), pp. 160 sqq.) that the property of Tibullus had been reduced from its ancestral proportions more probably by extravagance on the part of his father; cf. Hor. Sat. 1, 4, 28: stupet Albius aere. iugera multa: cf. 2, 3, 42: ut multa innumera iugera pascat ove; 3, 3, 5; Ovid, Fast. 3, 192: iugeraque . pauca tenere soli; K. P. H. in Class. Rev., Vol. 9 (1895), p. 108. For indications that his iugera were not now multa, see previous note.
3. quem . . . terreat: best regarded as subj. of characteristic, like fugent in the next verse. labor adsiduus: the various routine duties of a Roman soldier's life in camp, including foraging amid the peril of an attack, which naturally
4. somnos : the plural refers to the repeated instances of the experience which this verse describes. Cf. v. 27, n. — classica : for the evolution of the word's meaning cf. R. 1097. From the idea of being a means of distinguishing or summoning the classes it came to refer to the thing so used, i.e. the trumpet. - pulsa : an expression transferred from stringed to wind instruments.
me mea paupertas vita traducat inerti, dum meus adsiduo luceat igne focus. ipse seram teneras maturo tempore vites rusticus et facili grandia poma manu: nec Spes destituat, sed frugum semper acervos
5. vita PM vite (= vitae) A.
5. me: for the liberal use of personal pronouns cf. vv. 35, 41, 49, 53, 55, 57, 75, 77; 3, 3; etc. - paupertas: not to be interpreted too literally, but rather as a playful comparison with the divitias of the professional soldier. So Horace in Sat. 1, 6, 71 speaks of his father as macro pauper agello, yet proceeds to tell how this same father was able to give him at Rome an education as good as the sons of rich men enjoyed, and adds: vestem servosque sequentes, in magno ut populo, si qui vidisset, avita ex re praeberi sumptus mihi crederet illos. And Horace says of Tibullus (Ep. 1, 4, 7): di tibi divitias dederunt artemque fruendi. - vita: abl. of the way by which cf. Hirt. B.G. 8, 27: nisi flumine Ligeri. . . copias traduxisset. For a different construction cf. CIL, 6, 12072, 11: ut longum vitae liceat transducere tempus. - traducat: i.e. through life.-inerti: cf. vv. 58, 71. It was on account of the prominence of this thought in this poem (the word does not occur in any other elegy of Tibullus) that Vahlen proposed to read iam modo iners in v. 25.
igne: 'with Such rep
6. adsiduo steady glow'; cf. v. 3. etitions of a word are common enough in Tibullus (cf. previous note). focus: the hearth fire was essential to every Roman house; indeed, the name for the hearth is often used by metonymy for the home; Ter. Eun. 815: domi focique fac vicissim ut memineris; Hor. Ep. 1, 14, 1: agelli, quem tu fastidis, habitatum quinque focis. The depth of poverty associated with the extinguished hearth fire is indicated in Cat. 23, 1-2: Furi, cui neque servus neque arca nec cimex neque araneus neque ignis; cf. 2, 1, 22; Verg. Ec. 5, 70; Mart. 10, 47, 4; et passim.
7. ipse: 'with my own hand.' seram: like traducat (v. 5), opt. subj.
8. rusticus belongs to the predicate. - facili: due to experience. grandia: sturdy,' as contrasted with teneras (v. 7). — poma = pomos; cf. Verg. Georg. 2, 426; but in v. 13 it is used in the ordinary sense; the regular pomus occurs in 2, 1, 43.
9. Spes: Hope,' the goddess of the sower and the gardener. Very appropriately she had a tem