of a man standing outside the closed door or his lover; a longstanding tradition in ancient
poetry (I'm sure there are a few modern ones as well, though none come to mind). The Papyrus Chester Beatty I
, a collection of Egyptian poetry
, writen in Hieratic
What my sister did to me!
Why keep silent about it?
Left me to stand at her house door,
While she herself went inside!
She didn't say, "Come in, young man,"
She was deaf tonight.
(I don't know why, but sister is a common epithet for the beloved).And:
I passed by her house in the dark,
I knocked and no one opened;
A good night to our doorkeeper,
Bolt, I will open!
Door, you are my fate,
You are my own good spirit;
Our ox will be slaughtered inside,
Door do not show your strength!
(Translations from Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol II: New Kingdom. Berkeley, 1976. I'll try to post my own once I get the texts). There is no real explanation of continuity, but this is taken up again in Plautus' Curculio, the lover Phaedromus crying out:
Bolts, oh bolts, gratefully I greet you,
I love you, I want you, I ask you, I beg you,
Grant my wish, a poor lover, you charming things
Be barbarous dancers for my cause,
Leap up, I beg, and send in those doors
which suck up my strength, poor wretched lover.
See how those crappy little bolts sleep
and don't move quickly enough for me!(Plaut. Curc 147-154)
Tibullus addresses the door at the beginning of poem I.2:
You obstinate door of her master, may the rains beat you down,
May the thunder sent by Jove's command strike you!
Door, open already for me alone, succumb to my complaints
And silently make no noise on your opened hinge.
All of these passages are years apart; the Egyptian are from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, and can't be much more recent than 1000 B.C., while the Plautus was written in the early 2nd century B.C., and the Tibullus in the late 1st. I also know of no Greek examples. Please /msg me or add a writeup if you do.