Analysing texts of the Augustan literature from an object-epistemological perspective proves to be a productive approach when we want to learn more about the (self-)organisation of complex poetry. It is capable of putting the traditional method of linguistic and stylistic observation into the broader context of a theory of objects. This shift in perspective allows for a more precise definition of the ‘subject-matter’ or the ‘referentiality’ of poetry. In numerous texts written during the transition period between the Roman Republic and the Augustan principate, it is the things that give the most reliable evidence of the disruption of the conventional modes of perception and judgement. In this way, Propertius’ erotico-melancholic chamber play can become the indicator of an epochal change.