You Are My Hearts Desire

Lygdamus [Tibullus] Elegies 3.3.1-24 (with omission)

What does it benefit [me], Neaera, to have filled the heavens with vows and to have given beguiling frankincense with many a prayer, not that I should come forth from the threshold of a marble building, famous and notable because of an impressive house, or that my bulls should restore many acres and the bounteous earth should give large harvests, but that I should share the joys of a long life with you and my old age should come to an end in your bosom, when, finished with the time of light [that I had] traversed, I am forced to go naked in the Lethean boat?

For what does a heavy weight of rich gold benefit me, or if a thousand oxen cleave [my] fertile fields? Or what does a pearl that is gathered on the Red [Sea] coast help [me] and wool dyed with Sidonian purple, and, in addition, the things that the populace admires? Envy is [involved] in those things. The common people mistakenly love very many things. The minds and cares of human beings are not relieved by wealth, for Fortune governs [their] circumstances with her own law. For me, poverty would be pleasant with you, Neaera, but without you I have no wish for the (lit., I want no) gifts of kings.

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