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After Tibullus, “Elegy 1,” 51–58
It’s true, I’d far prefer
to give up gold and precious stones
than have a girl greet my farewell
with tears and sorrow’s groans.
It’s right that you, Messalla,
contend on land and sea
so that your entry way may stay
bedecked with spoils of war.
But the trammels of a lovely girl
are apt to keep me captive
and so I stand, a sentinel,
by the threshold of a stubborn door.
Renown counts for nought with me,
dear Delia, if we be one.
Let them call me lazybones, the one
who shirks what must be done.
Peter Fallon held the chair of Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies during the academic year 2012–13. His 1998 collection, News of the World: Selected and New Poems, was among the Irish Times‘s Books of the Year.