TRANSLATING PROPERTIUS 1

Sextus PropertiusElegies of Sextus Propertius

The Elegis of Sextus Propertius are written in the elegaic metre, which in European literature has come to mean a lament of meditative tone. Its origin is Greek, however, where it was used widely for epitaphs, inscriptions and epigrams, before being refined for extended compositions by Philetas and Callimachus of Alexandria. The form was introduced into Latin by Quintus Ennius, employed a little by Catullus, at length by Propertius, Tibullus and Ovid, and became the most popular of metres for everything except the epic.

Put simply, the Latin elegy is built in couplets (distiches). A hexameter with a hardly pronounced caesura:{6}*

¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ || x x ¯ x x ¯ – – ¯ f

is followed by what is sometimes called a pentameter, though really two half-lines separated by a diaeresis (coincidence of word and metre end: no run on): {6}

¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ | ¯ – – ¯ f Where short syllables are shown as –, two short syllables that can fuse into a long syllable are shown as x, and the concluding syllable, counted as long but able to fall on what would be counted a short syllable in everyday speech, is shown as f.

The first couplet of Elegy 1 in Book Four runs:

Hoc, quod cum que vi des, ho spes, qua ma xi ma Ro mast,

¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ – – ¯ f

an te Phry gem Ae nean co llis et her ba fu it;

¯ x x ¯ x x ¯ | ¯ – – ¯ – – f

At its smoothest, as in this example, and in Tibullus and Ovid generally, the pentameter ends in a two-syllable word. We should also note that, being an inflected language, Latin allows great freedom in the word order, which poetry exploits.

Qualis Thesea iacuit cedente carina
like Theseus laid_down leaves ship

languida desertis Cnosia litoribus;
faint abandoned she_of_Cnossus from_shore

qualis et accubuit primo Cepheïa somno
what and reclined by_chief Cepheus in_sleep

libera iam duris cotibus Andromede; (1.3.1-4)
liberates now from_hard from_stone Andromeda


Which we might render as:


Laid out as that deceived Cnossian girl was left

    with Theseus long shipped away,

or threatened Andromeda, King Cepheus's daughter,

    slept when freed from her harsh rock;

Previous Translations

P.J.F. GANTILLON 1884 {7}

The Elegies of Propertius with Notes, literally translated by the Rev. P.J.F. Gantillon, with metrical versions by Nott and Elton, appeared in 1884, and was a pleasing work that is still listed in academic bibliographies. The diction of the prose translation was much of its time:


He taught me, desperate power! to despise chaste maidens and to live recklessly. (1.1.5-6)

(So that readers can find the Latin easily, line numbers are referenced to the 1990 Loeb text. Additional P numbers refer to Pound's Homage to Sextus Propertius.)

The phrasal rhythms preserved the standard diction from bathos and generally steered the elegy to a successful conclusion:

Witnesses, rise and weep for me, while the grateful earth is paying tribute to my worth when alive. To some virtues heaven has been opened: may I earn, from my merits, the privilege of being one whose bones are conveyed into Elysium in triumph. (4.11.99-102)


A little stodgy, but an accurate rendering, and perhaps preferable to overworked verse renderings of the period, for example this by E.D.A. Morshead, which accompanied George Ramsay's student edition of Selections from Tibullus and Propertius in 1895: {8}


Lo, I have said! Rise, ye who weep; I stand

In high desert, worthy the Spirit Land.

Worth hath stormed heaven ere now; this, this I claim - T

O rise, in death, upon the waves of Fame. (4.11.99-102)


Here the rhyme needs have caused too many departures from the sense, and the grandiloquence is out of keeping with the quiet pathos of the piece, one of the finest of Latin elegies. The metrical versions by Nott and Elton accompanying Gantillon's prose translated only a few of the elegies, and were in the late Augustan manner: rhyming couplets or quatrains with a good deal of phrase inversion and antithesis. The renderings could be mechanical, as is Propertius at times, but few were without well-turned lines:


He taught me, then, to loathe the virtuous fair,

And shameless waste my wild and driftless hours. (1.1.5-6. Elton)


At length the tyrant taught me to detest

Chaste nymphs, and banished reason from my mind:

Nor one whole year has the dire frenzy ceas'd;

Still Fate forbids my mistress to be kind! (1.1.5-8. Nott)

And some achieved a good deal more:


Though now on reedy Styx the oar he ply,

Ev'n now, the murky sail of Hell survey;

Let her he loves recall him with a sigh,

He shall retrace the unpermitted way. (2.27.12-15. Elton).


EZRA POUND 1919 {9}

Into the quiet world of Latin scholarship, and verse renderings with Romantic or Augustan echoes, burst Ezra Pound, whose Homage to Sextus Propertius was and remains the most controversial of translations. It was heartily disliked at the time, and remained largely unappreciated outside Modernist circles for decades. {10} But, if the rendering was often careless and wrong-headed, it could also be vivid and beautiful.


Shades of Callimachus, Coan ghosts of Philetas,

    It is in your grove I would walk. (Pound 1.1-2, Loeb 3.1.1-2)


No, now while it may be, let not the fruit of life cease.

    Dry wreaths drop their petals, their stalks are woven in baskets,

        Today we take the great breath of lovers, tomorrow fate shuts us in. (P 8.28-32: 2.15.49-54)


    The twisted rhombs ceased their clamour of accompaniment;

        The scorched laurel lay in the fire-dust; (P 9.1.1-2: 2.28.35-6)


Of course there could be indifferent lines. The guying of academic language in:


Was Venus exacerbated by the existence of a comparable equal?

    Is the ornamental goddess full of envy?

Have you contempted Juno's Pelagian temples,

    Have you denied Pallas good eyes? (P 8.10-13: 2.28.9-12)


With the doubtful 'exacerbated', 'ornamental', 'contempted' and 'Pallas'. Some lines are plain bad, here the repulsive imagery, not in Propertius:


How easy the moving fingers, if hair is mussed on her forehead,

    If she goes in a gleam of Cos, in a slither of dyed stuff (P 5.2.7-8 2.1.5-6)


Or here with translation errors, giving hilarious results:


Io mooed the first years with averted head,

    And now drinks Nile water like a god (P 8 .19-20: 2.28.17-8)


There were also irritating mannerisms: anaphora


When, when, and whenever death closes our eyelids (P 6.1: 2.13.17)


An over-Latinate humour,


The dry earth pants against the canicular heat (P 8.4: 2.28.4)


And an irony that passes into self-mockery.


But in one bed, in one bed alone, my dear Lynceus

    I deprecate your attendance; (P 12.15-6: 2.34.16-7)


Yet what was abundantly achieved was a real voice, a genuine and moving affection for Cynthia, and the poet's acceptance that he will not be understood by his contemporaries, and even less by his mistress.


Great Zeus, save the woman,

        or she will sit before your feet in a veil,

        and pour out a long list of her troubles. (P 9.10-2: 2.28.45-6)


Pound called his work 'Homage to Sextus Propertius' but the rendering contained far too much straight borrowing to be either something in the manner of Propertius, or a poem on his themes. Nor was it strictly translation. Pound introduced lines and phrases of his own, and left out mythologies he thought tedious or tending to spoil the verse flow. Indeed, the whole demeanour of the Elegies was subtly altered. Propertius's invocation at the beginning of Book Three became an attack on false standards, equating Propertius's wish to avoid writing epics for Augustus with the despair and cynicism that afflicted Europe at the close of the First World War.


Then there were slips with real names: Polydamas incorrectly made Polydmanus in later editions. (P 1.31: 3.131)


The cheerfully appearance of the odd schoolboy howler:


Nor of Welsh mines and the profit Marus had out of them. (P 5.2.21: 2.1.24)

And scraps of fourth-form humour.


And in the meantime my songs will travel,

And the devirginated young ladies will enjoy them

    when they have got over the strangeness, (P 1.32-3: 3.2.1-2 )


It was, in short, a most unacademic translation, and one which still divides the Classics and English fraternities. {11} {20} But Pound, in all probability, was not aiming for fidelity to text — he was not a self-effacing man, and corrected very few of the errors pointed out to him {10} — so much as using Propertius for his own writing ends, creating a more flippant and one-sided version than the poetry warrants. Where scholars are undecided about the later elegies, Pound saw them as irony, if only subtle irony, and adopted an engaging but put-down tone. What didn't meet that interpretation, notably the sober elegy of Cornelia that closes Book Four, he happily ignored.

But if the translation infuriated scholars, far more baffled was the general reader. Part of the trouble lay with the 1892 Lucian Mueller {12} text, on which Pound based his translations, which juxtaposed lines and passages that later scholars have moved to more sensible positions, but Pound also rearranged the order of the twelve elegies he chose to translate, and removed large sections of those choices. The translations themselves could be very free, moreover, following the verse opportunities rather than translating what was on the page. Without the Latin to consult, few would guess that:


A new-fangled chariot follows the flower-hung horses;

A young Muse with young loves clustered about her

            ascends with me into the aether, . . .

And there is no high-road to the Muses. (P 1.13-6: 3.11-4)


Referred to the Roman triumph, the young loves being the kinsfolk that traditionally rode in the victor's chariot. Or that the mysterious:


"Bright tips reach up from twin towers,

    Anienan spring water falls into flat-spread pools." (P 3.3-4: 3.16.3-4)


Simply referred to the waterfalls at Tivoli, where Cynthia instructed Propertius to meet her. The saving grace was the verse, where Pound developed a style useful to him in the Cantos and to Modernism generally.{12}


Because that verse is often misunderstood, allowing contemporary styles to dwindle into little more than prose, it is worth looking at the details. Pound made several innovations.


1. He ignored the elegiac form, replacing the couplets by lines or line segments of varying lengths which were meaningful and cadenced units in themselves.


Love interferes with fidelities;

The gods have brought shame on their relatives;

Each man wants the pomegranate for himself (P 12.2-4: 2.34.2-5)


2. He made units a fused evocation of meaning, tone and emotion, often by vivid images that were only loosely linked by argument or narrative.


We, in our narrow bed, turning aside from battles:

Each man where he can, wearing out the day in his manner (P 5.2. 36-7: 2.1.45-6)


3. He pruned away the unnecessary, leaving words left to fill out with their full meaning:


Rumours of you throughout the city,

        and no good rumour among them. (P 11.18-9: 2.32.23-4


And phrases with a reverberating simplicity:


When the Syrian onyx is broken. (P 4.25: 2.13.30)


4. He used a diction that was not contemporary but a judicious mixture of the poetic (aforetime), the academic and the archly self-knowing or deprecating (young ladies): see below.


5. To give rhythmic coherence to the units, Pound adopted the cadences of his skilled contemporaries, but replaced their traditional accentual-syllabic verse by stress verse to no common base, i.e. to free verse. That allowed him to introduce snippets of conversation:


"You need, Propertius, not think

"About acquiring that sort of reputation. (P 2.19-20: 3.3.17-8)


And adjust the tone, here ironic:

        
She did not respect all the gods

Such derelictions have destroyed other young ladies aforetime. (P 8.6-7: 2.28.6-7)


And here simple and passionate:


You ask on what account I write so many love-lyrics

And whence this soft book comes into my mouth.

Neither Calliope nor Apollo sung these things into my ear,

My genius is no more than a girl. (P 5.2.1-4: 2.1.1-4)


6. He arranged the units with great skill, ostensibly avoiding the constraints of conventional verse, but actually playing variations on the iambic pentameter that can usually be sensed beneath.


Nor
at my funeral | either |will there be| any long trail | .

                    bearing ancestral lares | and images ||


Nor
at | my fu | neral ei | ther will | there be | any | long trail |

bearing | ances |tral la | res and | ima ges || (P 6.13-14: 2.13.19-20)


7. He made typography, the layout on the page, important. Where Pound wanted to emphasize words or thwart expectations, he broke the line, down-setting the important items:


Seeing that long standing increases all things regardless of quality. (P 1.25-6: 3.1.


Suddenly, the Elegies became challengingly different, as fresh and relevant to contemporary readers, Modernists believed, as Propertius was to his Roman audience. In fact Propertius was following in a long tradition, and his lines were startling only in the ease with which he further developed its inherent properties. By contrast, Pound's work was new, and revealed other dimensions, asking for poems to be constructed on fresh principles, and bound together by unusual devices.

The last was the great difficulty. The Homage is an untidy poem, with many lines of great beauty and felicity of expression, but not cohering into a satisfying whole. Roman poetry was an extension of oratory, and therefore constructed on a complex rhetoric. The Homage was built on Pound's belief in the imaginal nature of Chinese verse. Individual scenes or vignettes are not easily integrated without some intervening narrative, however, as every film director knows, and Pound himself found in the Cantos. No doubt links could be made — indeed were made in some faltering way through the Homage by the loose association of ideas — but an organizing linkage would doubtless have entailed further departures from the Latin, adding a matrix to images that were most vivid when left to stand for themselves. That said, the Homage does have more unity and compelling beauty than any correct and complete rendering, which necessarily includes many broken, trivial and unsatisfactory elegies.


ROBERT LOWELL 1947 {13}

Robert Lowell allowed himself only one translation of Propertius, that of Elegy 4.7, which he paraphrased with typical vigour and brilliance:


A ghost is someone: death has left a hole

For the lead-coloured soul to beat the fire:

    Cynthia leaves her dirty pyre

    And seems to coil herself and roll

        Under my canopy,

Love's stale and public playground, where I lie

And fill the run-down empire of my bed.

I See the street, her potter's field, is red

And lively with the ashes of the dead. (4.7.1-6)


In tone, stanza arrangement and literal sense, the rendering was far more Lowell than Propertius, but much could be forgiven for lines like:


A black nail dangles from a finger tip

And Lethe oozes from her nether lip. (4.7.7-8)


And


Would it have strained your purse

To scatter ten cheap roses on my hearse? ((4.7.33)


Indeed the verse was rather too magnificent, not allowing emotional shading, and the rigid ode structure was unable to capture the concluding two lines. In fact, though Lowell used traditional rather than free verse, his approach was that of Pound's, employing the stand-alone image instead of narrative. But in place of Pound's evocative vignettes, Lowell used a thickened expression, building up scenes with a vividness and power that are not found in the Latin.


FRANKLIN ADAMS 1960 {14}

Franklin P. Adams' translations were a throwback to an earlier age: to a racy light verse:


Cynthia first and the wonderful eyes of her

    Taught me the meaning of Love and Romance;

Now I have sung to the stars and the skies of her -

    Love has diluted the pride of my glance.

Ah! 'tis a year, yet the madness diminishes

    Never a fraction, a tittle, or jot,

Though I anticipate well what the finish is,

    Though I bewail my unfortunate lot. (1.1.1-8)


Good fun, and charming, but wildly unlike the Latin. Passages — indeed whole renderings — were immensely readable, but there was no hint of the real Propertius and his troubles:


Could cure me of my lover's itch -

As I admitted truthfully

Wrecked on a sad and troublous sea.

For when by Venus I was caught,

She bound my hands behind me taut.

But lo! my ships have found the bay:

Mine anchor's cast; I shout "Hooray!"


JOHN WARDEN 1972 {15}

Like Pound, John Warden replaced the elegiac couplet with lines expanding to fit the content, from trimeter:


So death is not the end of it; ghosts

exist, pale wraiths flitting

from the inclusive pyre. (4.7.1-29


to heptameter:


There was nobody to cry my name as my eyes grew dim (4.7.23)


But whereas Pound used a stress verse with many phrasing devices to give each line or line segment a coherent identity, Dr. Warden employed a more contemporary language in iambic throughout. The result was pleasing, a very readable version indeed, and one that could accommodate the prose meaning entirely, but it also produced a certain sameness in the lines, with limited emotional or dramatic impact. Content did not fuse with form in the way necessary for poetry, and at times the elegies became a miscellany of lyrics and narrative stretches. There was certainly gain, here a beauty and delicacy not in the original:


May your grave

be choked with thorns


May your shade

be choked with thirst


May your spirit

find no rest. (5.4.1-3)


But also loss: some lines became surprisingly pedestrian and none-too-accurate renderings of what was beautiful in the Latin:


She was the first to enslave me, and she did it with her eyes

    till then I'd never felt love's poisoned arrows. (1.1.1-2)


Inversions could be used unnecessarily, without making proper sense:


Don't waste Apollo's time by keeping him under arms;

but let your verse go slim and pumiced fine. (3.1.7-8)


And whereas some passages came close to light verse:


I much admire the Spartan wrestling schools,

but most of all I like the women's rules:

for girls and men can wrestle in the nude

(the Spartans think such exercise is good) (3.14.1-4)


Others failed just where good verse skills were most required:


Garlands wither and die

and the fallen petals float in the wine bowls.

Today we ride on the crest of love

but the end may come tomorrow. (2.15.49-54)


W.G. SHEPHERD 1986{16}

W.G. Shepherd's Propertius: The Poems, first issued in the Penguin Classics Series in 1986, and reissued by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2004, employed a dignified prose set out as free verse. The sense was transcribed closely, if at the cost of some stiffness, and the rendering broadly respected the line divisions:


CYNTHIA was the first

To capture with her eyes my pitiable self.

Till then I was free from desire's contagion.

Love Then forced me to lower my gaze of steady hauteur

And trampled my head with his feet. (1.1.1-4).


There was no Latin text, but the book did have an introduction (by Betty Radice), a select bibliography, a translator's foreword, notes on the poems, glossary of proper names and alphabetical index of Latin first lines — an academic production, in short, though none the worst for that. The prosier sections of the elegies were rendered with admirable good sense:


The robber Cacus lived there, in a dreaded cavern,

And gave out separate sounds from a triple mouth. (4.9.9-10)


In places the prose approached blank verse, and could be refreshingly succinct and literal:


As on the lonely beach the Cnossian lay

Fainting while Theseus's keel receded. (1.3.1-2)


In more eloquent sections, however, the limitations of what is essentially prose become apparent:


In vain will you summon my dumb shade, Cynthia

For how can my crumbled bones achieve speech? (2.13.57-8).


G.P. GOOLD 1990 {1}

Professor George Goold brought a lifetime's study of Propertius to his 1990 Loeb Edition of Propertius Elegies, which incorporated many suggestions of Dr. Stephen Heyworth, who was to later edit the Oxford Classical Text of Propertius. Goold made radical transpositions of the text, but the accompanying translation was not modern in style, being a remodelled Edwardian prose, stout-hearted and sensible in diction but sometimes heavy and over-periodic. It coped well with straight narrative:


The crime of Tarpeia and her shameful grave will be my tale, and how the dwelling of ancient Jove was captured. (4.4.1-2)


but was wholly at a loss with the celebrated passages:


Only, Cynthia, while there is light, do not disdain the rewards of life! If you give me all your kisses, you will yet give all too few. And just as petals drop from a withered garland, petals you see strewn in profusion and floating in the cup, so for us, who now love with spirits raised high, perhaps tomorrow's day shall round our destinies. (2.15.49-55)


GUY LEE 1992 {4} {17}

Guy Lee was the author of much well-received translation when he prepared Propertius: the Poems for publication in the Oxford World's Classics series. There was no Latin text, but the renderings were accompanied by a helpful introduction (by R.O.A.M. Lyne), an extensive glossary, a bibliography and a list of departures from Barber's Oxford Classical Text. Dr. Lee employed unrhymed couplets, usually pentameters but expanding to the content:


Cynthia first, with her eyes, caught wretched me

Smitten before by no desires. (1.1.1-2)


Although you're leaving Rome against my wishes, Cynthia,

I'm glad you'll be in rural isolation (2.19.1-2)


May earth, Procuress, overgrow your grave with thorns

And (what you will not wish) your ghost feel thirst. (4.5.1-2)


The rendering was often line for line, and the verse had the neatness of compressed meaning:


Whose threshold, wet with prisoner's suppliant tears,

Glided chariots celebrated. (1.16.2-4)


The diction, moreover, was generally that of ordinary speech, but ranged from contemporary slang to the rare and archaic. Many couplets were competently turned:


Whenever therefore death shall close my eyelids

Let this be the order of my funeral (2.13.17-18)


But as for me, in every place and all the time,

In sickness and in health, I'm with you still. (2.21.19-20)


In the celebrated passages, however, Dr. Lee was apt to paraphrase for effects that did not come off:


For just as petals drop from fading garlands

To float haphazard in wine-bowls,

So for us lovers who now walk so tall

Tomorrow may bring the fated close. (2.15.49-54)


But the real difficulty was the verse itself: an uncadenced mixture of traditional and free verse styles that exasperates the trained ear. Perhaps in trying for an idiomatic and flexible line, Lee often broke the metre, adding the odd word (here the unnecessary 'that', which wrong-foots the whole line):


It's not that I'm scared to get to know the Adriatic

Or sail the salt Aegean, Tullus (1.6.1-2)


Or he used the stress verse of Pound without its exactness of cadence:


But, Cynthia, you will call back my dumb spirit in vain;

My bits of bone will have nothing to say. (2.13.57-8)


Or in shaping the emotional utterance, the phrasing lost rather than built on its rhythmic base:


Let us sate our eyes with love while Fate allows.

The long night comes and the day of no return. (2.15.23-4)


A.S. KLINE 2001{18}

Tony Kline's translation appears on his popular Internet site, one of many free translations that have proved so useful to students. The translation can be copied readily, and unfamiliar names are hyperlinked to an extensive glossary. The rendering closely follows the text, allowing itself no 'improvements' or embellishments.


Cynthia was the first, to my cost, to trap me with her eyes:

I was untouched by love before. (1.1.1-2)


That plain tone sometimes passes into the colloquial:


you can hardly find rest for a single month, poor thing,

and now there'll be another disgraceful book about you. (2.3.3-4)


And occasionally into the crude and loutish:


slither about in a thin silk dress (1.2.2)


the cock-up at Cannae (3.3.10)


For the greater part, however, the rendering employs a sensible prose that conveys the sense admirably, even if it generally lacks the affective organization needed for poetry. As usual, the style serves well for narrative:


the horseman was skilled with the bridle, equally with the plough: and his helmet was wolf-skin, decorated with a shaggy crest: (4.10.19-20)


But fails in the more emotionally charged passages, resorting to unconvincing exhortation:


You while the light lasts, then, don't leave off life's joys! Though you give all your kisses, they'll prove all too few. As the leaves fall from dried garlands: as you see them scatter in cups and float there: so we, now, the lovers, who hope for great things, perhaps fate, tomorrow, will end our day. (2.15.49-54)


Odd phrases have the genuine touch of poetry, but the lines by their nature fall back into a language more suited to everyday use than elegiac expression:


The stars are witnesses, girl, and the frost at dawn, and the doors that opened secretly for unhappy me that nothing in my life was ever as dear to me as you: and you will be, forever, too, though you're so unkind to me. (2.9.41-2)


VINCENT KRANZ 2007 {19} {20}

Vincent Kranz employed a contemporary diction and something neither quite verse nor prose to make an unlovely but clear translation:


Cynthia as the first. She caught me with her eyes, a fool

who had never before been touched by desires.

I really hung my head in shame

when Love pressed down on it with his feet.

He taught me to hate chaste girls!

He was cruel when he told me to live without plan.

It's already been a whole year that the frenzy hasn't stopped.

Even now, the gods are against me. (1.1.1-8)


The rendering was generally faithful to the original, and the line divisions were respected, but the diction had a coarseness foreign to Propertius, and the dialogue was clumsy even by everyday or popular novel use. Equally something a colleague should have queried was the jarring mix of tones (here plebeian, academic and literary):


"If only you could experience the nights you always

force me to endure, you asshole!

At first I evaded sleep with the purple thread,

and again, exhausted, with song of the Orphic lyre.

Left all alone, I was singing lightly to myself

the frequent long delays when your lover is about.

Then drowsiness pulled me, slipping in its soft wings.

She at last cured my crying." (1.3.39-46)


Kranz's translation received the usual academic commendations, {19} but also an unflinching review by J.L. Butrica, {20} who pointed out the difficulties in making Propertius a streetwise kid.


S.J. HEYWORTH 2007{22}

Dr Stephen Heyworth's work was largely an attempt to explain and justify the text of Propertius published in the Oxford Classical Texts series. His book examined the textual problems of Propertius, taking the corrupt passages in turn and evaluating the suggestions scholarship has made towards resolving the difficulties. Stylistic excellence was not the aim of the added translation, but more a plain rendering of the prose sense as far as the remaining difficulties allowed.


Cynthia was the first; she caught me with her eyes and made me miserable—I had never been infected with desire before. (1.1.1-2)


Hey lucky me! Hey, night fair to me! Hey you, little bed made happy by my darling. (2.15.1-2)


Just as the petals have abandoned garlands as they wither and you see them floating scattered in bowls, so for us who now as lovers breathe deep, perhaps tomorrow will enclose our fate. (2.15.51-55)


No one reads such things for literary pleasure, but the examples do show that even prose needs careful word choice and sentence patterning if it is to convey what Propertius is prized for.


CONCLUSIONS

It should be clear, at least until our understanding of Propertius changes, or further manuscripts are found (which seems unlikely), that translations of a literal or academic nature are now fully catered for. Anyone wanting the prose sense of Propertius's Elegies need only borrow the Loeb edition {1} from their local library or visit Tony Kline's website {18}, perhaps consulting books by Lynne {5}, Richardson {2} and/or Heyworth {22} to understand the original better. The Latin text can be loaded down from Internet sites {26} {27} and those unable to read the language can run the text through QuickLatin {28} and other software to obtain a word-for-word translation and explanatory grammar. Sound recordings of Propertius and other Latin poets are also freely available on the Internet {29}, and to read the Latin for themselves — which helps enormously to bring their authors to life — students can practise with Clive Brooks's volume, {6} which comes with two CDs of audio files (though not including Propertius).


This note on the Elegies of Sextus Propertius continues into a rather technical exposition on the next page, but readers who simply want the finished article can download a free ebook from Ocaso Press with introduction, Latin text, facing English translation, notes, glossary and references.


* References are given on the next page.

 

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