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.