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Elegy For Tibullus - Poem by Ovid
If Memnon's mother mourned, Achilles's mother mourned,
and our sad fates can touch great goddesses,
then weep, and loose your hair in grief you never earned,
Elegy, now ah! too much like your name.
That bard whose work was yours, who gave you fame, Tibullus,
burns on the mounded pyre, a lifeless corpse.
See Venus's boy, bearing his quiver upside down;
his bow is broken and his torch is quenched;
look how he goes dejected: his wings trail on the ground;
he smites his naked breast with violent hand;
his tears dampen the curls that fall around his neck,
and heaving sobs keep breaking on his lips.
(Just so he went out, fair Iulus, from your house,
they say, at his brother Aeneas's funeral.)
No less was Venus stunned by her Tibullus's death
than when the fierce boar smote her lover's thigh.
They say we bards are sacred, favorites of the gods,
and even that there's something holy in us,
but that churl Death defiles every sacred thing:
his shadowy hand appropriates us all.
Was Orpheus saved by his father and mother, who were gods,
or by his songs that tamed the astonished beasts?
They say that that same father sang 'Linos! Ai, Linos! '
deep in the woods on his reluctant lyre.
And Homer, too, from whom, as from an endless fount,
bards' lips are moistened with the Muses' waters,
one last day pulled him under Avernus's murky wave:
his songs alone escaped the greedy pyre.
The work of bards endures: Troy's famous sufferings,
and the endless shroud, undone by nightly fraud.
So Nemesis and Delia: both their names will live,
the one his first, the one his latest love.
But what use now your rites? What use the Egyptian rattle?
What use, to have slept alone in an empty bed?
When harsh fate steals away the good (forgive my words!)
I almost want to believe there are no gods.
Live virtuous: you will die. Respect the gods: grim Death
will drag you from their altars to your grave.
Write glorious verse, and see! here Tibullus lies:
one small urn holds the dust of what he was.
Is it you the blazing pyre bears off, O sacred bard,
not dreading to be fed upon your breast?
Flames that dare so great a blasphemy would burn
the golden temples of the blessed gods!
She turned aside her gaze who rules Mt. Eryx's heights,
and some say she could not restrain her tears.
And yet it's better thus than if Phaeacia's land
had strewn mere dirt on your neglected grave.
Here, as you fled life, your mother closed your streaming
eyes, and brought her last gifts to your ashes.
Here your sister joined your mother in her grief
and came with loosened hair all disarrayed.
And with their kisses Nemesis and your first love
joined theirs, and did not leave your pyre forsaken,
and Delia, as she left, said, 'Happier far your love
for me: you lived, while I was still your flame.'
'Why, ' Nemesis replied, 'do you grieve for my loss?
Dying, he clutched me with his failing hand.'
If anything remains of us but name and shade,
Elysium's vale will be Tibullus's home,
and you will greet him, learned Catullus, ivy bound
on your young brow, with Calvus at your side,
and you (if it is false that you betrayed your friend)
Gallus, careless of your blood and soul.
These shades will be your comrades, if any shades there are:
you have joined the blessed, elegant Tibullus.
May your bones find repose within their sheltering urn,
and may earth not lie heavy on your ashes.
- translated from the Latin by Jon Corelis
Comments about Elegy For Tibullus by Ovid
Poems About Elegy
- 1. Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard , Thomas Gray
- 2. Elegy , Dylan Thomas
- 3. Elegy For Jane , Theodore Roethke
- 4. Duino Elegies: The First Elegy , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 5. Elegy In April And September , Wilfred Owen
- 6. Elegy Xix: To His Mistress Going To Bed , John Donne
- 7. Duino Elegies: The Tenth Elegy , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 8. Elegy To The Memory Of An Unfortunate Lady , Alexander Pope
- 9. An Imperial Elegy , Wilfred Owen
- 10. Duino Elegies: The Fourth Elegy , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 11. Elegy Xvi: On His Mistress , John Donne
- 12. A Satirical Elegy On The Death Of A Late.. , Jonathan Swift
- 13. An Elegy On The Death Of Kenneth Patchen , Lawrence Ferlinghetti
- 14. Elegy Ix: The Autumnal , John Donne
- 15. Elegy In The Classroom , Anne Sexton
- 16. Elegy I , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 17. Elegy Xviii: Love's Progress , John Donne
- 18. Elegy I: Jealousy , John Donne
- 19. Elegy X: The Dream , John Donne
- 20. Elegy Xiii: His Parting From Her , John Donne
- 21. Elegy X , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 22. An Elegy On The Death Of A Mad Dog , Oliver Goldsmith
- 23. Elegy Iv: The Perfume , John Donne
- 24. March Elegy , Anna Akhmatova
- 25. Elegy V: His Picture , John Donne
- 26. Elegy Vii , John Donne
- 27. Elegy In A Country Churchyard , Gilbert Keith Chesterton
- 28. Elegy Iii: Change , John Donne
- 29. Elegy , Siegfried Sassoon
- 30. Elegy Upon Tiger , Jonathan Swift
- 31. Elegy , Joseph Brodsky
- 32. Elegy Ii: The Anagram , John Donne
- 33. From The Tenth Elegy , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 34. Elegy Iv , Rainer Maria Rilke
- 35. Elegy Vi , John Donne
- 36. An Elegy In Frost , Sandra Fowler
- 37. Elegy Viii: The Comparison , John Donne
- 38. Elegy V , Ovid
- 39. An Elegy On A Lap-Dog , John Gay
- 40. Elegy , Alan Dugan
- 41. Elegy Xvi: The Expostulation , John Donne
- 42. Elegy , Carolyn Forché
- 43. Elegy For Tibullus , Ovid
- 44. An Elegy Upon James Therburn, In Chatto , James Thomson
- 45. Elegy Before Death , Edna St. Vincent Millay
- 46. Elegy , Edna St. Vincent Millay
- 47. Elegy To Time , Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel ..
- 48. Love: An Elegy , Mark Akenside
- 49. Elegy , Ambrose Bierce
- 50. Elegy Xvii: On His Mistress , John Donne
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