Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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May 21, 2005
Sextus Propertius links

from his Elegies:

from Book III.4:1-22, "War and peace":

our god,
plots war against rich India,
cutting the straits, in his fleet,
over the
pearl-bearing ocean.

the rewards are big:
far lands prepare triumphs:
Tiber, and


will flow to your tune. . . .

Father Mars,
and fatal lights of sacred Vesta,
I pray that the day will come

before I die,

when I’ll see
Caesar’s axles
burdened with booty . . .

from Book III.13:1-66, "Money the root of corruption":

You ask why a night
with eager women is expensive,
and why our exhausted powers
bemoan Venus’s losses.

The reason for such ruin
is clear and certain:
the path to voluptuousness
has been made too easy. . . .

Wives go out dressed
in a spendthrift’s fortune,
and drag the results
of their disgrace
in front of our faces.

There’s no respect shown
in asking
or supplying,

or if there is,
money dispels
any reluctance. . . .

But now the shrines decay
in deserted groves:
all worship money
now piety is vanquished.

Money drives out loyalty,
justice is bought for money,
money rules the law, and,
without the law,
then shame.

see also: Book II.29:1-22, "Drunk and out late"

Joseph Brodsky:

By reading [Propertius], we may at least learn what it takes to endure 2,000 years, without being a messiah.