Propertius, Elegy 3.23

How to quote this translation

M = reading of the whole MS tradition
m = reading of part of the MS tradition
P = reading on a papyrus

Ergo tam doctae nobis periere tabellae,
     scripta quibus pariter tot periere bona!
has quondam nostris manibus detriuerat usus,
     qui non signatas iussit habere fidem.
illae iam sine me norant placare puellas,5
     et quaedam sine me uerba diserta loqui.
non illas fixum caras effecerat aurum:
     uulgari buxo sordida cera fuit.
qualescumque mihi semper mansere fideles,
     semper et effectus promeruere bonos.10
forsitan haec illis fuerint mandata tabellis:
     ‘irascor quoniam es, lente, moratus heri.’
an ‘tibi nescio quae uisa est formosior?’ an ‘tu
     non bona de nobis crimina ficta iacis?’
aut dixit dixit m: dixi m: ‘uenies hodie, cessabimus una:15
     hospitium tota nocte parauit Amor,’
et quaecumque uolens uolens Broekhuyzen: dolens M reperit non stulta puella,
     garrula cum blandis ducitur hora dolis.
me miserum, his aliquis rationem scribit auarus
     et ponit duras duras m: diras m inter ephemeridas!20
quas si quis mihi rettulerit, donabitur auro:
     quis pro diuitiis ligna ligna Beroaldus: signa M retenta uelit?
i puer, et citus haec aliqua propone columna,
     et dominum Esquiliis scribe habitare tuum.

My learned tablets are lost, then, and with them so many fine writings! Use at my hands had worn them down long ago, and bade them be trusted even though they were no sealed. They knew how to placate girls, though I was absent, [5] and, though I was absent, to utter certain elegant words. No gold fittings made them valuable: they were grimy wax on ordinary boxwood. Yet such as they were, they always remained faithful to me and produced a good effect. [10] Perhaps these words were entrusted to those tablets: “I am angry because you were late yesterday, you layabout.” Or: “Did you think that some other girl was good looking?” Or: “Are you spreading vicious rumours about me?” Or she said: “Come today, and we will take it easy together: [15] Love has been preparing a welcome all night long,” and whatever a smart girl thinks up when she is willing, when an hour of talk is spent in seductive wiles. Alas, some money-grubber now writes his accounts on them and places them among his harsh ledgers! [20] If anyone returns them to me, he will have gold as a reward: who would rather hold on to wood than have riches? Go, boy, and quickly post this notice on some pillar, and write that your master lives on the Esquiline.

Relevant guides The Perils of Autobiography