10 February 2011

Ibitis sine me

Ibitis Aegaeas sine me, Messalla, per undas,
O utinam memores ipse cohorsque mei.
Me tenet ignotis aegrum Phaeacia terris,
Abstineas avidas, Mors, modo, nigra, manus.
Abstineas, Mors atra, precor: non hic mihi mater
Quae legat in maestos ossa perusta sinus,
Non soror, Assyrios cineri quae dedat odores
Et fleat effusis ante sepulcra comis,
Delia non usquam; quae me cum mitteret urbe,
Dicitur ante omnes consuluisse deos.


Without me you will sail, Messalla, the Grecian waves;
   may you and all our friends remember me!
Phaeacia holds me here, sick in a foreign land,
   but hold far off, dark Death, your greedy hands!
Hold off, black Death, I pray:  I have no mother here
   to gather my burnt bones in grieving arms;
no sister, to pour Syrian incense on my pyre
   and weep with streaming hair before my tomb;

nor Delia either, who, when sending me from Rome,
   sought omens first (they say) from every god.

 Elegies of Tibullus (Book I, 3)

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nowhere but there