I’ve discovered I no longer care for Propertius. I’ve grown too old, too content, and too unfleshed to find him anything but tiresomely repetitive. So, in lieu of one of the traditional choices, here’s his escape – and all of ours – from Cynthia at 3.21 (Goold’s Loeb translation).
I am constrained to embark on distant travel to learned Athens, that the long journey may free me from oppressive love, for my passion for my sweetheart grows steadily with looking at her: love itself provides its chief source of sustenance. I have tried all means of escape in any quarter
Then when the shores of Piraeus’ haven receive me, I shall ascend the long arms of Theseus’ Way.
There I will begin to improve my mind in Plato’s Academy or in the garden of sage Epicurus; or I will pursue the study of language, the weapon of Demosthenes, and savour the wit of elegant Menander; or at least painted panels will ensnare my eyes, or works of art wrought in ivory or, better, in bronze.
Magnum iter ad doctas proficisci cogor Athenas
ut me longa gravi solvat amore via.
crescit enim assidue spectando cura puellae:
ipse alimenta sibi maxima praebet amor.
omnia sunt temptata mihi, quacumque fugari
inde ubi Piraei capient me litora portus,
scandam ego Theseae bracchia longa viae.
illic vel stadiis animum emendare Platonis
incipiam aut hortis, docte Epicure, tuis;
persequar aut studium linguae, Demosthenis arma,
libaboque tuos, culte Menandre, sales;
aut certe tabulae capient mea lumina pictae,
sive ebore exactae, seu magis aere, manus.