Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Alcime, quem raptum domino crescentibus annis
   Labicana leui caespite uelat humus,
accipe non Pario nutantia pondera saxo,
   quae cineri uanus dat ruitura labor,
sed faciles buxos et opacas palmitis umbras
   quaeque uirent lacrimis roscida prata meis
accipe, care puer, nostri monimenta doloris:
   hic tibi perpetuo tempore uiuet honor.
cum mihi supremos Lachesis perneuerit annos,
   non aliter cineres mando iacere meos.

Alcimus, snatched from your master while in your growing years, you whom the Labican earth covers with light turf, accept no tottering masses of Parian stone, which, though they are going to collapse, vain labour gives to ashes; but easy boxwood, the dark shade of the vine, and green meadows bedewed with my tears - accept these, dear boy, the monuments of my sorrow. This honour will live for you for all time. When Lachesis has spun out my last years, I command that my ashes be laid to rest in no other fashion.

Monday, August 30, 2004


ne grauis hesterno fragres, Fescennia, uino,
   pastillos Cosmi luxuriosa uoras.
ista linunt dentes iantacula, sed nihil obstant,
   extremo ructus cum redit a barathro.
quid quod olet grauius mixtum diapasmate uirus
   atque duplex animae longius exit odor?
notas ergo nimis fraudes deprensaque furta
   iam tollas et sis ebria simpliciter.

So that you don't reek of yesterday's wine, Fescennia, you greedily devour Cosmus' pastilles. Those breakfasts of yours besmear the teeth, but they are no obstacle when a belch comes back from the furthest depth of the abyss. What of the fact that the foulness smells worse when mixed with the powder, and your breath's redoubled smell travels out further? So you should now get rid of your too well-known deceits and the cheating in which you've been caught, and be simply a drunkard.

Sunday, August 29, 2004


  uicinus meus est manuque tangi
  de nostris Nouius potest fenestris.
  quis non inuideat mihi putetque
  horis omnibus esse me beatum,
  iuncto cui liceat frui sodale?
  tam longe est mihi quam Terentianus,
  qui nunc Niliacam regit Syenen.
  non conuiuere, nec uidere saltem,
  non audire licet, nec urbe tota
  quisquam est tam prope tam proculque nobis.
  migrandum est mihi longius uel illi.
  uicinus Nouio uel inquilinus
  sit, si quis Nouium uidere non uolt.

Novius is my neighbour, and he can be touched with the hand from my windows. Who would not envy me and think me happy at every hour of the day, when I can enjoy my pal close by? He is as far away from me as Terentianus, who is now in charge of Syene on the Nile. It's not allowed me to share my life with him, not even to see him, nor to hear him, and there's no one in the whole of Rome who is both so near and so far away from me. Either I must move further away or he must. Anyone who doesn't want to see Novius should be his neighbour or lodger.

Saturday, August 28, 2004


uenderet excultos colles cum praeco facetus
   atque suburbani iugera pulchra soli,
'errat' ait 'si quis Mario putat esse necesse
   uendere: nil debet, fenerat immo magis.'
'quae ratio est igitur?' 'seruos ibi perdidit omnes
   et pecus et fructus; non amat inde locum.'
quis faceret pretium nisi qui sua perdere uellet
   omnia? sic Mario noxius haeret ager.

An auctioneer who was a bit of a card was selling some well cultivated hills and some fine acres of suburban land: "Anyone," he said, "who thinks Marius is being forced to sell up is wrong. He's not in any debt; on the contrary, he lends money." "So what's the reason then?" "He lost all his slaves there, and his livestock and his crops, so he doesn't like the place." Who would make a bid, unless he wanted to lose everything he had? Thus Marius is stuck with his noxious land.

Friday, August 27, 2004


uxorem habendam non putat Quirinalis,
cum uelit habere filios, et inuenit
quo possit istud more: futuit ancillas
domumque et agros implet equitibus uernis.
pater familiae uerus est Quirinalis.

Quirinalis doesn't think he ought to have a wife, whilst he would like to have sons, and he's found a way to do it: he has fucked his slave-girls and fills his house and fields with home-born knights. Quirinalis is a real paterfamilias.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


os et labra tibi lingit, Manneia, catellus:
   non miror, merdas si libet esse cani.

Your puppy licks your mouth and lips, Manneia: I'm not surprised that dogs like eating turds.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


  haec quae puluere dissipata multo
  longas porticus explicat ruinas,
  en quanto iacet absoluta casu!
  tectis nam modo Regulus sub illis
  gestatus fuerat recesseratque,
  uicta est pondere cum suo repente,
  et, postquam domino nihil timebat,
  securo ruit incruenta damno.
  tantae, Regule, post metum querelae
  quis curam neget esse te deorum,
  propter quem fuit innocens ruina?

This colonnade, which, scattered about with clouds of dust, spreads out its long ruins - see it, as it lies acquitted of a mishap so great! For Regulus had only just driven beneath that roof, and had just come out from it, when all of a sudden it was overcome by its own weight, and, when it no longer feared for its master, crashed without bloodshed in a disaster free of cares. Now that the fear of such great lamentation has passed, who could deny that you are in the gods' care, you for whose sake the collapse was guiltless?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


a seruo scis te genitum blandeque fateris,
   cum dicis dominum, Sosibiane, patrem.

You know that you were sired by a slave and you charmingly admit it, Sosibianus, when you call your father 'master'.

Monday, August 23, 2004


sportula, Cane, tibi suprema nocte petita est.
   occidit puto te, Cane, quod una fuit.

On your last night, Canus, you looked for a dole. I think what killed you, Canus, was that there was only one.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


semper agis causas et res agis, Attale, semper:
   est, non est quod agas, Attale, semper agis.
si res et causae desunt, agis, Attale, mulas.
   Attale, ne quod agas desit, agas animam.

You're always busy with lawsuits and you're always busy with business, Attalus: whether or not there's something for you to busy yourself with, you're always busy. If there's a lack of business or cases, then you busy yourself, Attalus, with driving mules. Attalus: so that you won't lack something to be busy with, busy yourself with giving up the ghost.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


indignas premeret pestis cum tabida fauces
   inque ipsos uultus serperet atra lues,
siccis ipse genis flentes hortatus amicos
   decreuit Stygios Festus adire lacus.
nec tamen obscuro pia polluit ora ueneno
   aut torsit lenta tristia fata fame,
sanctam Romana uitam sed morte peregit
   dimisitque animam nobiliore rogo.
hanc mortem fatis magni praeferre Catonis
   fama potest: huius Caesar amicus erat.

When a wasting disease was pressing on his throat (which did not deserve it), and the black corruption was creeping onto his very face, Festus himself with dry cheeks encouraged his weeping friends and decided to go to the Stygian lakes. And yet he did not pollute his pious mouth with a secret poison, nor did he wring out a slow fate with slow starvation, but he ended his holy life with a Roman death, and dismissed his life with a more noble pyre. Fame can place this death above the fate of great Cato: Caesar was this man's friend.

Friday, August 20, 2004


  pulchre ualet Charinus et tamen pallet.
  parce bibit Charinus et tamen pallet.
  bene concoquit Charinus et tamen pallet.
  sole utitur Charinus et tamen pallet.
  tingit cutem Charinus et tamen pallet.
  cunnum Charinus lingit et tamen pallet.

Charinus is beautifully healthy, and yet he is pale. Charinus drinks moderately, and yet he is pale. Charinus has a good digestion, and yet he's pale. Charinus sunbathes, and yet he's pale. Charinus dyes his skin, and yet he's pale. Charinus licks a cunt, and yet he's pale.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


o mihi curarum pretium non uile mearum,
   Flacce, Antenorei spes et alumne laris,
Pierios differ cantusque chorosque sororum;
   aes dabit ex istis nulla puella tibi.
quid petis a Phoebo? nummos habet arca Mineruae;
   haec sapit, haec omnes fenerat una deos.
quid possunt hederae Bacchi dare? Pallados arbor
   inclinat uarias pondere nigra comas.
praeter aquas Helicon et serta lyrasque dearum
   nil habet et magnum, sed perinane sophos.
quid tibi cum Cirrha? quid cum Permesside nuda?
   Romanum propius diuitiusque forum est.
illic aera sonant: at circum pulpita nostra
   et steriles cathedras basia sola crepant.

Flaccus, you who are no mean reward for my labours, hope and nursling of Antenor's home: put aside Pierian songs and the sisters' dances - none of these girls will give you money. Why do you ask Phoebus? Minerva's strongbox holds cash; she is wise, she alone lends to all the gods. What can Bacchus' ivy give? The tree of Pallas bends its variegated foliage with its black weight. Apart from water and garlands and the goddesses' lyres, Helicon has nothing but a great, but thoroughly empty "bravo". What have you to do with Cirrha? What with naked Permessis? The Roman forum is nearer and richer. That's where the money makes its noise: but around our platforms and barren seats it's only kisses that resound.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


dimidium donare Lino quam credere totum
   qui mauolt, mauolt perdere dimidium.

The man who prefers to give Linus half, rather than lend him the whole, prefers to lose half.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


moechus erat: poteras tamen hoc tu, Paula, negare.
   ecce uir est: numquid, Paula, negare potes?

He used to be your lover: but you could deny it, Paula. Look now, he's you're husband: can you deny it now, Paula?

Monday, August 16, 2004


nullus in urbe fuit tota qui tangere uellet
   uxorem gratis, Caeciliane, tuam,
dum licuit: sed nunc positis custodibus ingens
   turba fututorum est: ingeniosus homo es.

There was no one in the whole city who wanted to touch your wife, Caecilianus, for free, as long as that was allowed. But now that you've stationed guards, there's a huge crowd of fuckers: you're a clever man.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


  nostris uersibus esse te poetam,
  Fidentine, putas cupisque credi?
  sic dentata sibi uidetur Aegle
  emptis ossibus Indicoque cornu;
  sic quae nigrior est cadente moro,
  cerussata sibi placet Lycoris.
  hac et tu ratione qua poeta es,
  caluus cum fueris, eris comatus.

Do you think you're a poet, Fidentinus, by means of my verses - and do you want to have it believed? In the same way Aegle thinks herself toothy by means of ones she has bought, made of bone and Indian horn; in the same way Lycoris, who is blacker than a falling mulberry, is pleased with herself when she is painted with white lead. So, by the same reasoning that makes you a poet, when you're bald you'll have a head of hair.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Laeuia sex cyathis, septem Iustina bibatur,
   quinque Lycis, Lyde quattuor, Ida tribus.
omnis ab infuso numeretur amica Falerno,
   et quia nulla uenit, tu mihi, Somne, ueni.

Let Laevia be toasted with six ladles'-worth, Justina with seven, Lycis five, Lyde four, Ida three. Let each girl be numbered by the Falernian poured into the cup, and since none of them is coming, you, Sleep, come to me.

Friday, August 13, 2004


uade salutatum pro me, liber: ire iuberis
   ad Proculi nitidos, officiose, lares.
quaeris iter, dicam. uicinum Castora canae
   transibis Vestae uirgineamque domum;
inde sacro ueneranda petes Palatia cliuo,
   plurima qua summi fulget imago ducis.
nec te detineat miri radiata colossi
   quae Rhodium moles uincere gaudet opus.
flecte uias hac qua madidi sunt tecta Lyaei
   et Cybeles picto stat Corybante tholus.
protinus a laeua clari tibi fronte Penates
   atriaque excelsae sunt adeunda domus.
hanc pete: ne metuas fastus limenque superbum:
   nulla magis toto ianua poste patet,
nec propior quam Phoebus amet doctaeque sorores.
   si dicet 'quare non tamen ipse uenit?'
sic licet excuses 'quia qualiacumque leguntur
   ista, salutator scribere non potuit'.

Go and take my greetings, book, on my behalf: you are ordered, dutiful one, to go to the gleaming house of Proculus. You ask the way - I shall tell you. You will go past Castor, neighbour to aged Vesta, and the Virgins' home. From there you will make for the venerable Palatine, by way of the sacred slope: there very many an image of the supreme leader gleams. And let not the radiate mass of the marvellous colossus, which is glad to outdo the Rhodian work, detain you. Turn your path where the house of drunken Lyaeus is, and where the tholus of Cybele stands with its painted Corybant. Immediately to your left a house with shining facade, and the halls of a lofty house are what you must approach. Make for this one: don't be afraid of arrogance or a haughty threshold. No door opens wider post to post; and there is no other which Phoebus and the learned sisters love more. If he says "But why doesn't he come himself?", you may excuse me thus: "Because, whatever kind these things are that are read, a caller could not have written them."

Thursday, August 12, 2004


  coepit, Maxime, Pana qui solebat,
  nunc ostendere Canium Tarentos.

Tarentus, which used, Maximus, to show off Pan, has now begun to show off Canius.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


quidquid agit Rufus, nihil est nisi Naeuia Rufo.
   si gaudet, si flet, si tacet, hanc loquitur.
cenat, propinat, poscit, negat, innuit: una est
   Naeuia; si non sit Naeuia, mutus erit.
scriberet hesterna patri cum luce salutem,
   'Naeuia lux' inquit 'Naeuia lumen, haue.'
haec legit et ridet demisso Naeuia uultu.
   Naeuia non una est: quid, uir inepte, furis?

Whatever Rufus is doing, for Rufus there is nothing but Naevia. If he's happy, if he's crying, if he's silent, he talks about her. He dines, he toasts, he asks, he refuses, he gives a nod: all is Naevia. If there were no Naevia, he would be mute. When he was writing a salutation to his father with yesterday's light, 'Naevia my light,' he said, 'Naevia my beacon, greetings'. Naevia reads this and laughs with lowered face. Naevia is not the only girl: why, silly man, are you crazy?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


'liber homo es nimium' dicis mihi, Ceryle, semper.
   in te quis dicit, Ceryle, liber homo est.

"You are a man who speaks too frankly," you're always saying to me, Cerylus. Anyone who speaks against you, Cerylus, is a frank man.

Monday, August 09, 2004


  erras, meorum fur auare librorum,
  fieri poetam posse qui putas tanti,
  scriptura quanti constet et tomus uilis:
  non sex paratur aut decem sophos nummis.
  secreta quaere carmina et rudes curas
  quas nouit unus scrinioque signatas
  custodit ipse uirginis pater chartae,
  quae trita duro non inhorruit mento:
  mutare dominum non potest liber notus.
  sed pumicata fronte si quis est nondum
  nec umbilicis cultus atque membrana,
  mercare: tales habeo; nec sciet quisquam.
  aliena quisquis recitat et petit famam,
  non emere librum, sed silentium debet.

You're wrong, you greedy thief of my books, to think that you can become a poet for the price of copying and a cheap volume: a bravo is not available for six or ten sesterces. Seek out secret poems and unfpolished work which only one man knows about and which the father of the virgin sheet (which has not bristled when rubbed by a hard chin) himself keeps sealed up in a book-box: a well-known book cannot change its master. But if there's one which has not yet had its front smoothed by pumice, and which has not been smartened up with handles and parchment - buy it. I have some like that; no one will know. Whoever recites other people's work and seeks fame, ought to buy not a book but silence.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


cum dixi 'ficus', rides quasi barbara uerba
   et dici 'ficos', Caeciliane, iubes.
dicemus 'ficus', quas scimus in arbore nasci,
   dicemus 'ficos', Caeciliane, tuos.

When I say "ficus" you laugh as if it were barbarian talk, and you tell me, Caecilianus, that they are called "ficos". Let us use "ficus" for the kind that we know grow on trees; let us use "ficos" for your kind, Caecilianus.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


  bella es, nouimus, et puella, uerum est,
  et diues, quis enim potest negare?
  sed cum te nimium, Fabulla, laudas,
  nec diues neque bella nec puella es.

You're pretty, I know, and a girl, it's true, and rich - who can deny it? But when, Fabulla, you praise yourself too much, you're neither rich nor pretty nor a girl.

Friday, August 06, 2004


ut recitem tibi nostra rogas epigrammata. nolo:
   non audire, Celer, sed recitare cupis.

You ask me to recite my epigrams to you. I refuse: you don't want to listen, Celer, but to recite.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


casta nec antiquis cedens Laeuina Sabinis
   et quamuis tetrico tristior ipsa uiro
dum modo Lucrino, modo se permittit Auerno,
   et dum Baianis saepe fouetur aquis,
incidit in flammas: iuuenemque secuta relicto
   coniuge Penelope uenit, abit Helene.

Laevina was chaste, did not yield to the ancient Sabines, and was herself sterner than her husband, though he was severe; as she entrusted herself now to the Lucrine lake, now to Avernus, and often warmed herself in the waters of Baiae, she fell into the flames: she followed a young man, abandoning her spouse; she arrived as Penelope, left as Helen.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


 Verona docti syllabas amat uatis,
   Marone felix Mantua est,
 censetur Aponi Liuio suo tellus
   Stellaque nec Flacco minus,
 Apollodoro plaudit imbrifer Nilus,
   Nasone Paeligni sonant,
 duosque Senecas unicumque Lucanum
   facunda loquitur Corduba,
 gaudent iocosae Canio suo Gades,
   Emerita Deciano meo:
 te, Liciniane, gloriabitur nostra
   nec me tacebit Bilbilis.

Verona loves the syllables of the learned poet, Mantua is fortunate in Maro, the land of Aponus is renowned for its Livy, and no less for Stella and Flaccus, the rain-bearing Nile applauds Apollodorus, the Paelignians resound with Naso, eloquent Corduba speaks of both the two Senecas and the one and only Lucan, jolly Gades rejoices in its Canius, Emerita in my Decianus: as for you, Licinianus, our Bilbilis will boast of you, and will not be silent about me.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


intres ampla licet torui lepus ora leonis,
   esse tamen uacuo se leo dente putat.
quod ruet in tergum uel quos procumbet in armos,
   alta iuuencorum uolnera figet ubi?
quid frustra nemorum dominum regemque fatigas?
   non nisi delecta pascitur ille fera.

Although, hare, you enter the wide mouth of the grim lion, nonetheless the lion thinks he has empty fangs. What back will he rush at, what shoulders will he fall upon, where will he plant the bullocks' deep wounds? Why do you vainly weary the lord and king of the forests? He feeds on nothing but choice wild beasts.

Monday, August 02, 2004


dat Baiana mihi quadrantes sportula centum:
   inter delicias quid facit ista fames?
redde Lupi nobis tenebrosaque balnea Grylli:
   tam male cum cenem, cur bene, Flacce, lauer?

The dole at Baiae provides me with a hundred quadrantes. What's the use of that paltry sum amidst luxuries? Give me back the gloomy baths of Lupus and Gryllus: when I dine so badly, why, Flaccus, should I wash well?

Sunday, August 01, 2004


milia pro puero centum me mango poposcit:
   risi ego, sed Phoebus protinus illa dedit.
hoc dolet et queritur de me mea mentula secum
   laudaturque meam Phoebus in inuidiam.
sed sestertiolum donauit mentula Phoebo
   bis decies: hoc da tu mihi, pluris emam.

The dealer asked me a hundred thousand for a boy: I laughed, but Phoebus gave it at once. My prick is hurt about this, and complains to itself about me, and Phoebus wins praise at my expense. But Phoebus' prick has given him two million sesterces: if you give me that much, I'll pay more.