Ice Cold Lucidity

30 Jan

Hostis si quis erit nobis, amet ille puellas:
gaudeat in puero, si quis amicus erit.
Elegiae, II, 4, 17

May my enemies love women,
may my friends delight in boys.

“Propertius was born in Umbria ( probably at Asissi). Impoverished as a result of the proscriptions of Octavian and Antony, he came to Rome intending to study law, but turned to poetry instead. He left four books of elegies. The first, published in his lifetime, is the history of his passion for “Cynthia” whom he met at the age of eighteen; the three others contain pieces on a number of other subjects, including the famous “Queen of Elegies” (IV, 11) in which the ghost of a noble Roman matron comforts her widowed husband. As a poet of love, Propertius, who combines intense passion with ice-cold lucidity, has never been surpassed and rarely equaled.”

Sextus Propertius c. 47- c. 16 B.C.


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