You Are My Hearts Desire

Nothing is known about Lygdamus, apart from what can be gleaned from the few poems of his that have survived under the name of his contemporary Tibullus. In the following elegy, Lygdamus laments that his prayers have been unable to secure a reunion with his lover, Neaera.

Quid prodest caelum votis implesse, Neaera, blandaque cum multa tura dedisse prece, non, ut marmorei prodirem e limine tecti, insignis clara conspicuusque domo, aut ut multa mei renovarent iugera tauri 5

et magnas messes terra benigna daret, sed tecum ut longae sociarem gaudia vitae inque tuo caderet nostra senecta sinu, text Tibulli aliorumque carminum libri tres, ed. J. P. Postgate

(Oxford Classical Texts, 1924) meter elegiac couplet [§m 2]

quid pro|dest cae|lum || vo|tis Im|plesse Ne|aera blandaque | cum mul|ta || tura de|dlsse pre|ce

1 The long question that begins Quid prodest [mihi] (what does it benefit (pro-sum prodesse + dat.) [me]) continues through 1. 10; votis instrumental abl. [§g47] with vows—Lygdamus would have committed himself to do something for the gods, such as make a sacrifice, if his wishes (11.7f.) were fulfilled; implesse (= implevisse) to have filled (impleo -ere); Neaera here voc. (Neaera -ae f.).

2 blanda ... tura trans, by sg., beguilingjrankincense (tus turis N.)—frankincense was used in formal approaches to the gods; cum multa ... prece with many a prayer.

3f. In three purpose clauses expressed by ut + subj. [§g83], Lygdamus first states what he does not want (11. 3-6) and then what he does; marmorei ... e limine tecti from the threshold (llmen liminis n.) of a marble building (tectum -1 n.); prodeo -ire come forth; insignis (famous) and conspicuus (notable) agree with the subject of prodirem, i.e., I; take clara ... domo (abl. of cause [§g 48]; because of an impressive house) with both adjectives. si. The second thing that Lygdamus does not want is a large, productive farm; renovo -are recondition, restore—the reference is to annual plowing; iugerum -1 n. a measure of land, trans, acre; taurus -I m. bull; messis messis f. harvest; benignus bounteous.

7f. The ut introducing Lygdamus' real wishes is postponed [§g4]; tecum = cum te; socio -are unite, trans, share; gaudium -(1)1 n .joy; in tuo ... sinu in your bosom (sinus -us m.); cadd -ere die, trans, come to an end; nostra senecta my (pi. for sg. [§g53]) old age (senecta -ae f.).

turn cum permenso defunctus tempore lucis nudus Lethaea cogerer ire rate? 10

nam grave quid prodest pondus mihi divitis auri, arvaque si findant pinguia mille boves? quidve in Erythraeo legitur quae litore concha 17

tinctaque Sidonio murice lana iuvat, et quae praeterea populus miratur? in illis invidia est: falso plurima vulgus amat. 20

non opibus mentes hominum curaeque levantur:

nam Fortuna sua tempora lege regit, sit mihi paupertas tecum iucunda, Neaera, at sine te regum munera nulla volo.

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

g{. turn cum lit., then when, trans, simply when; take permenso (here with a passive sense, traversed, travelled over; permetior -Iri) tempore with defunctus (defiungor -I + abl. be finished with); lucis gen. with tempore; nudus naked; Lethaea ... rate instrumental abl. [§g47] with the Lethean boat (ratis ratis f.)— an inconsistency with general belief, since Charon's boat, which is referred to here, normally ferried the dead across the river Styx, not the Lethe; cogerer 1 sg. imperf. subj. pass, cogo -ere force. nf. quid (postponed [§g4]) what; the subjects of prodest are grave ... pondus (heavy weight (pondus ponderis n.)) and the si clause in 1. 12; arva ... pinguia [my] fertile fields (arvum -1 N.); si is postponed [§g4]; findo -ere cleave, here in plowing; take mille (indecl. adj. thousand) with boves. i7f. quid what; the prose order would be concha quae in Erythraeo litore legitur (the pearl (concha -ae f. normally shell) that is gathered on the Red [Sea] coast)— Erythraeus adj. of the Red Sea (mare Erythrum, which included the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, as well as what we now call the Red Sea); concha, lana (1.18; lana -ae f. wool), and the understood antecedent of quae (1.19) are the subjects of iuvat (sg. agreeing with its nearest subject [§g 58]); take tincta (dyed; tingo -ere) with lana; Sidonio murice instrumental abl. [§G47] with Sidonian purple (murex muricis m. a shellfish from which a purple dye was extracted)—cf. Ovid Fasti 2.107, page 142, where murex is called Tyrian (Tyre and Sidon were cities 20 miles apart in the Roman province of Syria). I9f. quae trans, the things that—with these, which involve invidia, Lygdamus is thinking of other ostentatious displays of wealth; falso mistakenly; plurima superl. used to express a very high degree [§G54j very many.

21 opibus instrumental abl. [§G47] by wealth; levo -are relieve.

22 sua ... lege instrumental abl. [§g47] with her own law; tempora here [their] circumstances—Fortune decrees who will be rich and who will be poor.

23 sit potential subj. [§g68] would be; mihi dat. of reference [§g 32] for me; paupertas paupertatis f.poverty; iucunduspleasant.

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