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1 Arabus, Delphos, Dryops, Miletos, Tenes, Epidaurus, Ceos, Lycoras, Syrus, Pisus, Marathus, Megarus, Patarus, Acraepheus, Cicon, Chaeron and many other sons of Apollo, under the guidance of his words, founded eponymous cities.
2 He was short of stature, although Julius Marathus, his freedman and keeper of his records, says that he was five feet and nine inches (just under 5 ft. 7 in., or 1.70 meters, in modern height measurements), but this was concealed by the fine proportion and symmetry of his figure, and was noticeable only by comparison with some taller person standing beside him...", adding that "his shoes [were] somewhat high-soled, to make him look taller than he really was".
3 In addition, several elegies in Book I concern themselves with Tibullus's love for a boy, who is named Marathus.
4 The three poems centered on Marathus constitute the longest poetic project in Roman literature having homosexual love as theme.
5 In the end lines, however, he confesses to loving a boy named Marathus, who tortures him with "love's delay" (1.4.81) and whom the narrator can not conquer with his arts, causing other men to laugh at his lessons (1.4.83).
6 The cycle is resumed in poem 1.8, in which the narrator learns that Marathus is in love with a girl.
7 The narrator advises the girl to treat Marathus with more leniency than Marathus treated the narrator himself (1.8.49).
8 The narrator accompanies Marathus to the girl's house, carrying a torch to light the path at night, bribes her so that she meets Marathus, and talks the boy up to the girl (this is described in more detail the next poem, 1.9, lines 41–44).
9 This poem can be seen as part of the narrator's efforts to win Marathus' goodwill by performing a series of humiliating tasks for him, exceeding the god's counsel to perform hard physical labors for the lad, by also helping him carry on an affairs with someone else.
10 In the poem that ends the cycle, 1.9, the narrator discovers that Marathus is in a relationship with a much older married man who buys the young man's affections through expensive gifts.
11 Initially, the narrator asks the gods for compassion towards Marathus (1.9.5–6), who betrayed a promise he had made to the narrator, but soon love yields to bitterness, and he begins to express the desire that the gifts of the rival lover turn to ashes (1.9.11–12) and that the same happen to the poems that the narrator wrote to Marathus to win him over (1.9.48–49), of which he is now ashamed.
12 Finally, the poet addresses Marathus, telling him that he will cry when he sees the poet fall in love with another capricious lad (1.9.79–80), but declaring himself, for the moment being, finally released from unfaithful love.