Propertius, Elegies, book 1, elegy 1
prīma miserum mē cēpit ,
et Amor pedibus,
dōnec mē docuit castās puellās 5
, et nullō cōnsiliō.
et mihi iam hic nōn annō,
Operatives, you have learned purpose clauses using ut. Look at the following examples.
mīlitēs urbem intrat ut eam incendant.
The soldiers enter the city in order that they may burn it.
Clodia ad forum ambulat ut vestīmenta emat.
Clodia walks to the forum to buy clothes.
In each of these examples ut introduces the purpose clause. There are two other sorts of purpose clauses, one that uses the relative pronoun qui, quae, quod, and one that uses ubi. Look at these examples:
Clodia servum mīsit quī togās emeret.
Clodia sent a slave who was buying togas.
Or, in better English:
Clodia sent a slave to buy togas.
Sextus locum invenīre volēbat ubi Recentiī celārent.
Sextus was wanting to find a place where the Recentii might hide.
Or, in better English:
Sextus was wanting to find a place for the Recentii to hide.
Both of these sentences use subjunctive verb clauses, but in forms which you have not seen before. They are both actually purpose clauses and are called relative purpose clauses because they relate to something else in the sentence. In the 1st sentence, the relative pronoun, quī, takes an antecedent, a word which comes before to which the relative pronoun refers. In the first sentence, the antecedent in the slave. In the second sentence, ubi, although not truly a relative pronoun, still shows purpose here so it is appropriate to group it with the relative pronoun. It acts in exactly the same way.
The key to translating these sentences correctly is to recognize that the verb in the subordinate clauses is subjunctive and that you are not simply dealing with an indicative relative clause or a clause with the conjunction ubi.
Stranger and stranger, operatives. The Demiurge is reasonably sure that investigating the romantic culture of the late Republic and early Empire is far from a red herring, so he's directed us to take Gaius' lead and have you read up on Propertius.
CULTURALIA Comprehension Questions
Directions: Using the CULTURALIA section of your CODEX as a guide, answer the following questions:
1. What major event in his youth conceivably shaped his view of the principate?
2. As a young and well-educated man in Rome, what conjectures can we make about Propertius life? Where did he live? What types of people did he associate with?
3. Whose attention did Propertius attract with his poetry? What are the implications of this connection? What other famous authors must have Propertius known?
4. What kind of poetry did Propertius write? Describe the genre and style.
5. Who is the principal character in his poetry? Describe the poets relationship with this character.
6. How does Propertius seemingly change the content of his poetry in his fourth book? What is the new subject matter?