Elegies. Introduction, Text, Translation and Notes
Tibullus's two books of elegies belong to the early part of the reign of Augustus (31-19 B.C.). His themes were love, the countryside and Rome, its gods and traditions. His patron was the great general and orator M. Valerius Messalla Corvinus. One of the four canonical Latin elegiac poets (Gallus, of whom almost nothing survives, Propertius and Ovid being the others), Tibullus has a distinctive voice and an individual approach to the conventional subject matter, bland on the surface but turbulent and passionate on deeper examination. His easy stylistic mastery cloaks vivid intellectual activity and turbulent emotion. This edition, revised in collaboration with Robert Maltby, includes for the first time the third book of the Corpus Tibullianum, a collection of poems by others within Messalla's circle, including the female elegist Sulpicia. Guy Lee's acclaimed verse translation, rhythmically subtle and lively in verbal texture, can be read with delight on its own and enhances our enjoyment and appreciation of Tibullus's Latin. Robert Maltby has provided for the third edition an extensive new commentary, illuminating many aspects of Tibullus' art and literary background.