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AND who now attaches any value to the liberal arts, or looks on poetry as worth a straw? Time was when genius was held more precious than gold; now, if you've no money, you are accounted the veriest barbarian! My books have the good fortune to please my mistress. They have the entrée to her; I, alas, have not. She has given high praise to the poetry, but on the poet she has shut her door. I am told that I'm a genius, yet they leave me to cool my heels where I can. Any rich parvenu who has swash-bucklered his way to wealth is set above me.

Can you, my life, really be so scatter-brained as to put your arms about him? Can you, my life, let him put his arms about you? Let me tell you, in case you know it not, that that head of his was recently covered by a helmet, and that a sword hung from that side which now is so devoted to you. His left hand, with the gold ring which fits it so ill, bore a shield; touch his Tight hand, and you'll find it bathed with blood. The man's a murderer! Can you really hold his hand? What has become of that soft heart of yours? Count those scars, the records of the fights that he's been through. All that he has, he won at the price of his blood. Perhaps he will tell you how many throats he has cut. And are you so greedy for money that you can touch such cruel hands, while I, innocent priest of Apollo and the Muses, vainly lay my verses at your unheeding door?

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You, who are wise, learn not our useless poet's lore; learn rather to march with noisy troops and to follow the career of war. Instead of trying to be a poet, learn to be a soldier. Even if you were Homer himself, only thus could you obtain the favours of the fair. Jupiter knew well enough that nothing is so powerful as gold, and he won the virgin on whom be had cast his eye by changing himself to gold. So long as gold was not forthcoming he found himself face to face with an obdurate father, an inflexible damsel, doors of brass and a tower of iron; but no sooner did the would-be seducer arrive with presents than she unveiled her bosom, and forthwith gave--what she was asked to give.

It was not thus in aged Saturn's reign. Then all the metals were buried deep within the bowels of the earth. Bronze and silver, gold and heavy iron to the shades he had committed. In those olden days no treasure heaps were seen. But better things earth gave than that, rich harvests from the unlaborious earth, fruits in abundance and stores of honey laid in the hollow oak. None ever broke the soil with the patient plough, no land surveyor parcelled out the soil; no oars smote the tossing waves. For mortals, then, the shores of the sea were barriers impassable. Against thyself, O Man, hast thou turned thy powers of invention, and used thy genius to invent evils untold. What hath it availed thee to girdle your cities. round with towers and ramparts, and among men to stir up armed war? What is the sea to thee? The earth might have sufficed thee. There is another realm to conquer--the sky; wherefore attack it not? To the heavens, too, thou dost aspire, so far as thou Mayest. Quirinus, Bacchus, Alcides, and, now, Cæsar have each their temple.

We dig the earth for gold instead of golden harvests. The soldier possesses wealth obtained by blood. The Senate shuts its doors against the poor; money paves the way to honours. Money makes the solemn judge, the

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haughty knight. Let them have everything; let them lord it over the Campus Martius and the Forum; let them decide on peace or war; but in their greediness let them draw the line at robbing me of my mistress, and I shall be content. They must leave something to the poor man.

But nowadays, any woman, be she as prudish as the Sabines, is treated like a chattel-slave by any man who can throw about his money. Now, I'm always stopped by this keeper fellow, and she says that she's in mortal terror of her husband. If I could afford costly presents, both of them would disappear as by magic. Oh, if there be a god who will avenge the unrequited lover, let him reduce such ill-gotten wealth to dust.


Et quisquam ingenuas etiamnunc suspicit artes,
    aut tenerum dotes carmen habere putat?
ingenium quondam fuerat pretiosius auro;
    at nunc barbaria est grandis, habere nihil.
cum pulchrae dominae nostri placuere libelli,
    quo licuit libris, non licet ire mihi;
cum bene laudavit, laudato ianua clausa est.
    turpiter huc illuc ingeniosus eo.
Ecce, recens dives parto per vulnera censu
    praefertur nobis sanguine pastus eques!
hunc potes amplecti formosis, vita, lacertis?
    huius in amplexu, vita, iacere potes?
si nescis, caput hoc galeam portare solebat;
    ense latus cinctum, quod tibi servit, erat;
laeva manus, cui nunc serum male convenit aurum,
    scuta tulit; dextram tange--cruenta fuit!
qua periit aliquis, potes hanc contingere dextram?
    heu, ubi mollities pectoris illa tui?
cerne cicatrices, veteris vestigia pugnae--
    quaesitum est illi corpore, quidquid habet.
forsitan et, quotiens hominem iugulaverit, ille
    indicet! hoc fassas tangis, avara, manus?
ille ego Musarum purus Phoebique sacerdos
    ad rigidas canto carmen inane fores?
discite, qui sapitis, non quae nos scimus inertes,
    sed trepidas acies et fera castra sequi
proque bono versu primum deducite pilum!
    nox tibi, si belles, possit, Homere, dari.
Iuppiter, admonitus nihil esse potentius auro,
    corruptae pretium virginis ipse fuit.
dum merces aberat, durus pater, ipsa severa,
    aerati postes, ferrea turris erat;
sed postquam sapiens in munere venit adulter,
    praebuit ipsa sinus et dare iussa dedit.
at cum regna senex caeli Saturnus haberet,
    omne lucrum tenebris alta premebat humus.
aeraque et argentum cumque auro pondera ferri
    manibus admorat, nullaque massa fuit.
at meliora dabat--curvo sine vomere fruges
    pomaque et in quercu mella reperta cava.
nec valido quisquam terram scindebat aratro,
    signabat nullo limite mensor humum,
non freta demisso verrebant eruta remo;
    ultima mortali tum via litus erat.
Contra te sollers, hominum natura, fuisti
    et nimium damnis ingeniosa tuis.
quo tibi, turritis incingere moenibus urbes?
    quo tibi, discordes addere in arma manus?
quid tibi cum pelago--terra contenta fuisses!
    cur non et caelum, tertia regna, petis?
qua licet, adfectas caelum quoque--templa Quirinus,
    Liber et Alcides et modo Caesar habent.
eruimus terra solidum pro frugibus aurum.
    possidet inventas sanguine miles opes.
curia pauperibus clausa est--dat census honores;
    inde gravis iudex, inde severus eques!
Omnia possideant; illis Campusque forumque
    serviat, hi pacem crudaque bella gerant--
tantum ne nostros avidi liceantur amores,
    et--satis est--aliquid pauperis esse sinant!
at nunc, exaequet tetricas licet illa Sabinas,
    imperat ut captae qui dare multa potest;
me prohibet custos, in me timet illa maritum.
    si dederim, tota cedet uterque domo!
o si neclecti quisquam deus ultor amantis
    tam male quaesitas pulvere mutet opes!

Next: Elegy IX: On The Death Of Tibullus.