In his fourth poem about his lover, Cynthia, Propertius delivers a sharp response to an acquaintance who tells him he should be looking elsewhere. Her accomplishments include the arts, including music – and certain other things, he adds …

Hear Propertius’s Latin and follow in English here.

Cynthia is no more, but as Propertius lies in bed, her ghost appears to give him a trademark dressing-down. But is all as it seems? Perhaps we will find out in Propertius’s next poem…

Hear an extract in the original Latin and follow the poem in English with a parallel text here.

Cynthia is back from the grave, on an excursion with someone who looks like a rival for Propertius to visit a festival where a fearsome snake is to be fed by maidens in honour of Juno – and when she returns and catches Propertius up to no good, she gives him good reason to regret it. But in the preceding poem she was dead and buried: what is going on?

Find a suggestion, hear an extract from the original Latin and follow the whole poem in parallel text here.

Snake photo by Holger Krisp: see the photo credits page for licensing details.

Today’s post is the first poem in Propertius’s works. He introduces us to Cynthia. He is not happy. Whether this is because he hasn’t got her, or because he has got her, we can’t be quite sure, but by the next poem they will be an item. It will be a long and rocky ride together. Cynthia is a skilled musician and lyre player, which is not the only attribute she has in common with the sirens.