Tuesday, November 30, 2004


uxorem armati futuis, puer Hylle, tribuni,
  supplicium tantum dum puerile times.
uae tibi! dum ludis, castrabere. iam mihi dices
  'non licet hoc.' quid? tu quod facis, Hylle, licet?

You, boy Hyllus, are fucking the wife of an armed tribune, as long as you fear only the boyish punishment. Woe to you! As you play you will be castrated. Now you'll tell me, 'That's not allowed!' What? What you are doing, is that allowed, Hyllus?

Monday, November 29, 2004


Mica uocor: quid sim cernis, cenatio parua:
  ex me Caesareum prospicis ecce tholum.
frange toros, pete uina, rosas cape, tinguere nardo:
  ipse iubet mortis te meminisse deus.

I am called The Crumb. You can see what I am - a small dining-hall. Look! From me you can look out on the Caesars' dome. Beat down the couches, ask for wine, take roses, soak yourself in nard: the god himself bids you remember death.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


pexatus pulchre rides mea, Zoile, trita.
  sunt haec trita quidem, Zoile, sed mea sunt.

In your fine brand-new toga you laugh, Zoilus, at my threadbare clothes. Yes, they are threadbare, Zoilus, but they are mine.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


  hic quem uidetis gressibus uagis lentum,
  amethystinatus media qui secat Saepta,
  quem non lacernis Publius meus uincit,
  non ipse Cordus alpha paenulatorum,
  quem grex togatus sequitur et capillatus
  recensque sella linteisque lorisque,
  oppignerauit modo modo ad Cladi mensam
  uix octo nummis anulum, unde cenaret.

This man whom you all see walking slowly with wandering steps; who cuts through the middle of the Enclosure clothed in amethyst-colour; whom my Publius has not outdone in cloaks, nor Cordus himself, the alpha of cloak-wearers; whom a toga-wearing and long-haired flock follows, and his sedan-chair which is fresh with linen and straps - he has just now pawned a ring, at Cladius' counter, for barely eight sesterces, to pay for his dinner.

Friday, November 26, 2004


gentibus in Libycis uxor tua, Galle, male audit
  immodicae foedo crimine auaritiae.
sed mera narrantur mendacia: non solet illa
  accipere omnino. quid solet ergo? dare.

Amongst the peoples of Libya, Gallus, your wife has a bad reputation for the foul offence of immoderate greed. But it's complete lies that are being told. It's not her habit to receive. So what does she do? She gives.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


  uis te, Sexte, coli: uolebam amare.
  parendum est tibi: quod iubes, coleris.
  sed si te colo, Sexte, non amabo.

You want to be shown respect, Sextus: I wanted to show you affection. You must be obeyed: as you ask, you will be respected. But if I respect you, Sextus, I shall not feel affection.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


  quid de te, Line, suspicetur uxor
  et qua parte uelit pudiciorem,
  certis indiciis satis probauit,
  custodem tibi quae dedit spadonem.
  nil nasutius hac maligniusque.

What your wife suspects about you, and in what part she would like you to be more modest, she has sufficiently demonstrated by sure signs: she has given you a eunuch as a guardian. There's nothing sharper or more spiteful than her.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


uis fieri liber? mentiris, Maxime, non uis:
  sed fieri si uis, hac ratione potes.
liber eris, cenare foris si, Maxime, nolis,
  Veintana tuam si domat uua sitim,
si ridere potes miseri chrysendeta Cinnae,
  contentus nostra si potes esse toga,
si plebeia Venus gemino tibi uincitur asse,
  si tua non rectus tecta subire potes.
haec tibi si uis est, si mentis tanta potestas,
  liberior Partho uiuere rege potes.

You want to become free? You're lying, Maximus: you don't want to. But if you do want to become free, you can do it this way. You will be free, Maximus, if you don't want to dine out, if the grape of Veii quenches your thirst, if you can laugh at the gold-inlaid dishes of wretched Cinna, if you can be content with my toga, if a vulgar Venus can be won over for two asses, if you can enter your house when you're stooping. If you have this strength, if you have such great willpower, you can live more free than the king of Parthia.

Monday, November 22, 2004


nouit loturos Dasius numerare: poposcit
  mammosam Spatalen pro tribus; illa dedit.

Dasius knows how to count the bathers: he asked Spatale with the big breasts to pay the entry-fee for three. She gave it to him.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


unus saepe tibi tota denarius arca
  cum sit et hic culo tritior, Hylle, tuo,
non tamen hunc pistor, non auferet hunc tibi copo,
  sed si quis nimio pene superbus erit.
infelix uenter spectat conuiuia culi
  et semper miser hic esurit, ille uorat.

You often have only a single denarius in your cashbox, Hyllus, and it's more worn than your arsehole; yet it's not the baker nor the innkeeper who will take it from you, but someone who's proud of his oversized penis. Your unfortunate belly watches your arse's banquet: the former is always miserably hungry, the latter gobbles up.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


quod fellas et aquam potas, nil, Lesbia, peccas:
  qua tibi parte opus est, Lesbia, sumis aquam.

You suck cocks and drink water, and you're doing nothing wrong, Lesbia: in just that part where you need it, Lesbia, you're doing the washing-up.

Friday, November 19, 2004


uxorem nolo Telesinam ducere. 'quare?'
  moecha est. 'sed pueris dat Telesina.' uolo.

I don't want to marry Telesina. 'Why?' She's an adulteress. 'But Telesina has it off with boys.' I want her.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


  coponem laniumque balneumque,
  tonsorem tabulamque calculosque
  et paucos, sed ut eligam, libellos:
  unum non nimium rudem sodalem
  et grandem puerum diuque leuem
  et caram puero meo puellam:
  haec praesta mihi, Rufe, uel Butuntis,
  et thermas tibi habe Neronianas.

An innkeeper, a butcher, a bath, a barber, a gaming-board and counters, and a few books (but I must choose them!), a friend who is not too unrefined, a strapping boy who will be smooth for a long time, and a girl who's dear to my boy: give me these things, Rufus, even in Butunti, and you can keep Nero's baths for yourself!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


subdola famosae moneo fuge retia moechae,
  leuior o conchis, Galle, Cytheriacis.
confidis natibus? non est pedico maritus;
  quae faciat duo sunt: irrumat aut futuit.

Keep your distance from the treacherous nets of the infamous adultress - I'm warning you, Gallus, you who are smoother than Cytherea's conch-shells. You're trusting in your buttocks? Her husband isn't an arse-fucker. There are two things that he does: he fucks mouths or he fucks cunts.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


florida per uarios ut pingitur Hybla colores,
  cum breue Sicaniae uer populantur apes,
sic tua subpositis conlucent prela lacernis,
  sic micat innumeris arcula synthesibus,
atque unam uestire tribum tua candida possunt,
  Apula non uno quae grege terra tulit.
tu spectas hiemem succincti lentus amici -
  pro scelus! - et lateris frigora trita tui.
quantum erat, infelix, pannis fraudare duobus -
  quid metuis? - non te, Naeuole, sed tineas?

Just as flowery Hybla is decorated in various colours when the Sicilian bees despoil the short spring, so your presses are radiant with the cloaks put in them, and so your wardrobe sparkles with the countless dinner-clothes, and your white togas - which the land of Apulia produced from more than one flock - can clothe a whole tribe. But you, you look without urgency upon the winter of a girt-up friend - oh for shame! - and the threadbare chill of your companion. Would it be so much trouble, you wretch, to defraud of two rags (why are you afraid?) not yourself, Naevolus, but the moths?

Monday, November 15, 2004


quae tibi non stabat praecisa est mentula, Glypte.
  demens, cum ferro quid tibi? gallus eras.

That prick of yours which never used to stand up has now been cut, Glyptus. Madman, what good could a knife be to you? You were already a eunuch.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


  emi seu puerum togamue pexam
  seu tres, ut puta, quattuorue libras,
  Sextus protinus ille fenerator,
  quem nostis ueterem meum sodalem,
  ne quid forte petam timet cauetque,
  et secum, sed ut audiam, susurrat:
  'septem milia debeo Secundo,
  Phoebo quattuor, undecim Phileto,
  et quadrans mihi nullus est in arca.'
  o grande ingenium mei sodalis!
  durum est, Sexte, negare, cum rogaris:
  quanto durius, antequam rogeris!

Whether I've bought a boy or a new-combed toga or, say, three or four pounds of silver, straight away Sextus, that usurer - my old friend that you all know - is scared I might ask for something, takes precautions and whispers to himself (but so that I can hear): 'I owe seven thousand to Secundus, four to Phoebus, eleven to Philetus, and there's not a farthing in my strongbox.' O the great ingenuity of my friend! It's harsh, Sextus, to refuse when you're asked; how much harsher it is before you're asked!

Saturday, November 13, 2004


'κοινὰ φίλων': haec sunt, haec sunt tua, Candide, κοινά,
  quae tu magnilocus nocte dieque sonas?
te Lacedaemonio uelat toga lota Galaeso
  uel quam seposito de grege Parma dedit:
at me, quae passa est furias et cornua tauri,
  noluerit dici quam pila prima suam.
misit Agenoreas Cadmi tibi terra lacernas:
  non uendes nummis coccina nostra tribus.
tu Libycos Indis suspendis dentibus orbis:
  fulcitur testa fagina mensa mihi.
immodici tibi flaua tegunt chrysendeta mulli:
  concolor in nostra, cammare, lance rubes.
grex tuus Iliaco poterat certare cinaedo:
  at mihi succurrit pro Ganymede manus.
ex opibus tantis ueteri fidoque sodali
  das nihil et dicis, Candide, 'κοινὰ φίλων'?

'Friends share': this - is this your 'sharing', Candidus, which you grandly bang on about by night and day? A toga washed in Lacedaemonian Galaesus swathes you, or one which Parma provided from a special flock; yet as for mine, the first dummy which has suffered the rage and horns of a bull wouldn't want to call it its own. Cadmus' country has sent you Agenorian cloaks; you won't be able to sell my scarlet clothes for three sesterces. You balance round Libyan tabletops on Indian ivory: my beechwood table is propped up with a fragment of pottery. Oversized mullets cover your yellow gold-inlay plates: lobster, you blush on my plate that shares your colour. Your 'flock' could compete with the Trojan catamite: but instead of a Ganymede it's my hand that comes to my aid. Out of so much wealth you give nothing to an old and faithful friend and you still say, Candidus, 'Friends share'?

Friday, November 12, 2004


Zoile, quid solium subluto podice perdis?
  spurcius ut fiat, Zoile, merge caput.

Zoilus, why do you ruin the bath-tub by washing your anus? To make it filthier, Zoilus, stick your head in.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


  'ride si sapis, o puella, ride,'
  Paelignus, puto, dixerat poeta;
  sed non dixerat omnibus puellis.
  uerum ut dixerit omnibus puellis,
  non dixit tibi: tu puella non es,
  et tres sunt tibi, Maximina, dentes,
  sed plane piceique buxeique.
  quare si speculo mihique credis,
  debes non aliter timere risum
  quam uentum Spanius manumque Priscus,
  quam cretata timet Fabulla nimbum,
  cerussata timet Sabella solem.
  uultus indue tu magis seueros
  quam coniunx Priami nurusque maior.
  mimos ridiculi Philistionis
  et conuiuia nequiora uita
  et quidquid lepida procacitate
  laxat perspicuo labella risu.
  te maestae decet adsidere matri
  lugentique uirum piumue fratrem,
  et tantum tragicis uacare Musis.
  at tu iudicium secuta nostrum
  plora, si sapis, o puella, plora.

I think the Paelignian poet said, 'Laugh if you're clever, girl, laugh!' But he didn't say it to all girls. Or if he really did say it to all girls, he didn't say it to you: you're not a girl. You have three teeth, Maximina, but they're completely pitch- and boxwood-coloured. Therefore, if you trust your mirror and me, you ought to fear laughter just as much as Spanius fears the wind and Priscus fears a hand, as much as Fabulla with her powder fears a rain-cloud and Sabella with her white lead fears the sun. Put on faces that are grimmer than Priam's wife and the greater of his daughters-in-law. Avoid the mimes of clown Philistion and naughty parties and anything which with charming shamelessness relaxes the lips in a radiant smile. You ought to sit by a sorrowful mother or one who is mourning her husband or devoted brother, and have time only for the tragic Muses. So then, follow my advice: weep if you're clever, girl, weep!'

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


uri Tongilius male dicitur hemitritaeo.
  noui hominis mores: esurit atque sitit.
subdola tenduntur crassis nunc retia turdis,
  hamus et in mullum mittitur atque lupum.
Caecuba saccentur quaeque annus coxit Opimi,
  condantur parco fusca Falerna uitro.
omnes Tongilium medici iussere lauari:
  o stulti, febrem creditis esse? gula est.

Word is that Tongilius is being burned up by a semitertian fever. I know the man's ways: he's hungry and thirsty. The crafty nets are being spread out for fat thrushes, and the hook is being cast for mullet and bass. Let the Caecuban wine be strained, and the one which Opimius' year ripened; let the dark Falernian be stored in little glass bottles. All Tongilius' doctors have told him to take a bath. You fools! Do you believe it's a fever? It's gluttony.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


coccina famosae donas et ianthina moechae:
  uis dare quae meruit munera? mitte togam.

You're giving the infamous adulteress scarlet and violet clothing? Do you want to give her the gift she deserves? Send her a toga.

Monday, November 08, 2004


quid mihi reddat ager quaeris, Line, Nomentanus?
  hoc mihi reddit ager: te, Line, non uideo.

You ask, Linus, what my Nomentan estate provides for me? This is what the estate provides for me: I don't see you, Linus.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


  quidquid ponitur hinc et inde uerris,
  mammas suminis imbricemque porci
  communemque duobus attagenam,
  mullum dimidium lupumque totum
  muraenaeque latus femurque pulli
  stillantemque alica sua palumbum.
  haec cum condita sunt madente mappa,
  traduntur puero domum ferenda:
  nos accumbimus otiosa turba.
  ullus si pudor est, repone cenam:
  cras te, Caeciliane, non uocaui.

You sweep up, from this side and that, whatever is served - the teats of sow's udder, a cutlet of pork, a game-bird for two, half a mullet, a whole bass, a side of lamprey, a leg of chicken, and, dripping in its sauce, a pigeon. When this has been concealed in a greasy napkin, it's handed to your boy to be taken home. As for us, we recline, an idle crowd. If you have any shame, put the dinner back! I didn't invite you for dinner tomorrow, Caecilianus.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


flectere te nolim, sed nec turbare capillos;
  splendida sit nolo, sordida nolo cutis;
nec mitratorum nec sit tibi barba reorum:
  nolo uirum nimium, Pannyche, nolo parum.
nunc sunt crura pilis et sunt tibi pectora saetis
  horrida, sed mens est, Pannyche, uulsa tibi.

I wouldn't want you to curl your hair, but I wouldn't want you to mess it up either; I don't want your skin to be shiny, but I don't want it to be dirty; don't wear the beard of turbaned men, nor that of defendants. I don't want too much of a man, Pannychus, nor do I want too little. As things are, your legs are shaggy with hairs and your chest with bristles, but your mind, Pannychus, is plucked.

Friday, November 05, 2004


cum sint crura tibi similent quae cornua lunae,
  in rhytio poteras, Phoebe, lauare pedes.

Since you have legs that imitate the horns of the moon, you could wash your feet, Phoebus, in a drinking-horn.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


cum placeat Phileros tota tibi dote redemptus,
  tres pateris natos, Galla, perire fame.
praestatur cano tanta indulgentia cunno
  quem nec casta potest iam decuisse Venus.
perpetuam di te faciant Philerotis amicam,
  o mater, qua nec Pontia deterior.

While Phileros, whom you bought with all of your dowry, gives you pleasure, you allow your three children, Galla, to die of starvation. Such great indulgence is shown to your grey cunt, to which not even a chaste Venus can be suited. May the gods make you Phileros' girlfriend for ever, o mother no better even than Pontia.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


  cur non basio te, Philaeni? calua es.
  cur non basio te, Philaeni? rufa es.
  cur non basio te, Philaeni? lusca es.
  haec qui basiat, o Philaeni, fellat.

Why do I not kiss you, Philaenis? You are bald. Why do I not kiss you, Philaenis? You are red-headed. Why do I not kiss you, Philaenis? You are one-eyed. Anyone who kisses those things, Philaenis, sucks.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


lis mihi cum Balbo est, tu Balbum offendere non uis,
  Pontice: cum Licino est, hic quoque magnus homo est.
uexat saepe meum Patrobas confinis agellum:
  contra libertum Caesaris ire times.
abnegat et retinet nostrum Laronia seruum,
  respondes 'orba est, diues, anus, uidua.'
non bene, crede mihi, seruo seruitur amico:
  sit liber, dominus qui uolet esse meus.

I'm in litigation with Balbus; you don't want to offend Balbus, Ponticus. And with Licinus; he too is a great man. Often my neighbour Patrobas molests my little field: you are afraid to go against Caesar's freedman. Laronia issues a denial and holds on to my slave; you reply, 'She is childless, rich, old, a widow.' It's not good (believe me) to be enslaved to a friend who is a slave. Whoever wants to be my master should be free.

Monday, November 01, 2004


saepe ego Chrestinam futui. det quam bene quaeris?
  supra quod fieri nil, Mariane, potest.

I have often fucked Chrestina. Do you ask how well she gives? There's nothing that can happen above it, Marianus.