Friday, December 31, 2004


rerum certa salus, terrarum gloria, Caesar,
  sospite quo magnos credimus esse deos,
si festinatis totiens tibi lecta libellis
  detinuere oculos carmina nostra tuos,
quod fortuna uetat fieri permitte uideri,
  natorum genitor credar ut esse trium.
haec, si displicui, fuerint solacia nobis;
  haec fuerint nobis praemia, si placui.

O sure salvation of the world, the glory of the earth, Caesar, while you are safe we believe that the gods exist. If my poems, so often read by you in hasty little books, have detained your eyes, permit that what Fortune has forbidden might seem to be: that I should be considered to be the father of three children. If I have displeased, this will be my consolation; this will be my reward if I have pleased.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


Quintiliane, uagae moderator summe iuuentae,
  gloria Romanae, Quintiliane, togae,
uiuere quod propero pauper nec inutilis annis,
  da ueniam: properat uiuere nemo satis.
differat hoc patrios optat qui uincere census
  atriaque immodicis artat imaginibus.
me focus et nigros non indignantia fumos
  tecta iuuant et fons uiuus et herba rudis.
sit mihi uerna satur, sit non doctissima coniunx,
  sit nox cum somno, sit sine lite dies.

Quintilian! Greatest restrainer of wayward youth, glory of the Roman toga, Quintilian! For the fact that I am in a hurry to live life to the full, though a poor man and not useless through old age, forgive me: no one can hurry to live life to the full quickly enough. The man who wants to outdo his father's wealth and who packs his atrium with an excessive number of portrait-busts: let that man put it off. As for me, I enjoy the hearth and a roof that does not take offence at black smoke, and a living spring, and fresh grass. May I have a well-fed home-born slave, a wife who is not over-educated, nighttime with sleep, and daytime without a lawsuit.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


quod nimio gaudes noctem producere uino
  ignosco: uitium, Gaure, Catonis habes.
carmina quod scribis Musis et Apolline nullo
  laudari debes: hoc Ciceronis habes.
quod uomis, Antoni; quod luxuriaris, Apici.
  quod fellas, uitium dic mihi cuius habes?

For the fact that you enjoy prolonging the night with too much wine, I forgive you: you have Cato's bad habit, Gaurus. For the fact that you write poems without and Muses or Apollo, you should be praised: you have this bad habit of Cicero's. For the fact that you vomit - Antonius'. For your luxurious living - Apicius'. For the fact that you suck cocks - tell me, whose bad habit do you have?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


nil recitas et uis, Mamerce, poeta uideri.
  quidquid uis esto, dummodo nil recites.

You don't give any recitations, yet, Mamercus, you wish to be considered a poet. Be whatever you want, just as long as you don't give any recitations.

Monday, December 27, 2004


dicis amore tui bellas ardere puellas,
  qui faciem sub aqua, Sexte, natantis habes.

You say that the pretty girls are burning with love for you - you, Sextus, who have the face of a man swimming under water!

Sunday, December 26, 2004


  quod nec carmine glorior supino
  nec retro lego Sotaden cinaedum,
  nusquam Graecula quod recantat echo
  nec dictat mihi luculentus Attis
  mollem debilitate galliambon,
  non sum, Classice, tam malus poeta.
  quid si per gracilis uias petauri
  inuitum iubeas subire Ladan?
  turpe est difficiles habere nugas
  et stultus labor est ineptiarum.
  scribat carmina circulis Palaemon,
  me raris iuuat auribus placere.

Just because I don't pride myself on palindromic poetry or read bumboy Sotades backwards; just because nowhere does a Greekling echo sing back, nor does bright Attis dictate to me the galliambic verse, soft in its weakness, I am not, Classicus, such a bad poet. What if you were to tell [the runner] Ladas to mount the slender paths of the tightrope against his will? It is disgraceful to make trifling stuff difficult, and hard work on frivolities is stupid. Let Palaemon write poems for the surrounding crowds. I enjoy pleasing select ears.

Saturday, December 25, 2004


uimine clausa leui niueae custodia coctae -
  hoc tibi Saturni tempore munus erit.
dona quod aestatis misi tibi mense Decembri
  si quereris, rasam tu mihi mitte togam.

A flask, enclosed in light wickerwork for water that's been boiled then iced - this will be my gift to you at the time of Saturnalia. If you complain that I've sent you a summer gift in the month of December, then, for your part, send me a shorn toga.

Friday, December 24, 2004


mollis erat facilisque uiris Poeantius heros:
  uulnera sic Paridis dicitur ulta Venus.
cur lingat cunnum Siculus Sertorius, hoc est:
  +ab hoc occisus+, Rufe, uidetur Eryx.

The hero son of Poeantius was effeminate and an easy lay for men: Venus is said to have avenged Paris' wounds in this way. The reason why the Sicilian Sertorius licks cunt is this: it seems, Rufus, that Eryx was killed by him.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


  foedasti miserum, marite, moechum,
  et se, qui fuerant prius, requirunt
  trunci naribus auribusque uultus.
  credis te satis esse uindicatum?
  erras: iste potest et irrumare.

You have disfigured, husband, the wretched adulterer, and his face, stripped of its nose and ears, seeks its former self. Do you think you have been sufficiently avenged? You're wrong: he can also fuck in the mouth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


abscisa seruum quid figis, Pontice, lingua?
  nescis tu populum, quod tacet ille, loqui?

Why have you cut off your slave's tongue and crucified him, Ponticus? Don't you know that the populace is talking about what he is keeping quiet?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


laxior hexaphoris tua sit lectica licebit;
  cum tamen haec tua sit, Zoile, sandapila est.

Your litter may well be more spacious than ones with six bearers; but since it is yours, Zoilus, it's a pauper's bier.

Monday, December 20, 2004


hostem cum fugeret, se Fannius ipse peremit.
  hic, rogo, non furor est, ne moriare, mori?

As he was fleeing the enemy, Fannius killed himself. I ask you! Is this not madness - dying so as not to die?

Sunday, December 19, 2004


inuitas tunc me cum scis, Nasica, uocasse.
  excusatum habeas me rogo: ceno domi.

You only invite me to dinner, Nasica, when you know I have guests myself. I beg you to excuse me: I'm dining at home.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


aestiuo serues ubi piscem tempore, quaeris?
  in thermis serua, Caeciliane, tuis.

You ask where you should keep fish in summertime? Keep it in your bath-house, Caecilianus.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Cosconi, qui longa putas epigrammata nostra,
  utilis unguendis axibus esse potes.
hac tu credideris longum ratione colosson
  et puerum Bruti dixeris esse breuem.
disce quod ignoras: Marsi doctique Pedonis
  saepe duplex unum pagina tractat opus.
non sunt longa quibus nihil est quod demere possis,
  sed tu, Cosconi, disticha longa facis.

Cosconius, you who think my epigrams are long, you can be useful for greasing axles! By this reasoning you would think the Colossus too tall and you would call Brutus' [stauette of a] boy too short. Learn what you're ignorant of: often a double page is taken up with a single piece of Marsus' or Pedo's. Things aren't long if there's nothing that you could take away from them, but you, Cosconius, write long couplets.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


argenti libras Marius tibi quinque reliquit.
  cui nihil ipse dabas, hic tibi uerba dedit?

Marius left you five pounds of silver. The man to whom you yourself used to give nothing, has he given you words?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


uerbera securi solitus leo ferre magistri
  insertamque pati blandus in ora manum
dedidicit pacem subito feritate reuersa,
  quanta nec in Libycis debuit esse iugis.
nam duo de tenera puerilia corpora turba,
  sanguineam rastris quae renouabat humum,
saeuus et infelix furiali dente peremit:
  Martia non uidit maius harena nefas.
exclamare libet: 'crudelis, perfide, praedo,
  a nostra pueris parcere disce lupa!'

A lion, accustomed to bear his fearless master's beatings and gently to allow a hand to be inserted in his mouth, suddenly unlearned his peaceful ways when his ferocity returned, such ferocity as there should not have been even in the Libyan heights. For with his raging fangs the savage wretch killed two boyish bodies from the youthful crowd which was refreshing the bloody ground with rakes. Mars' arena has not seen a greater outrage. One would like to shout out: 'Cruel, treacherous, brigand! Learn from our she-wolf how to spare boys!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


  cinctum togatis post et ante Saufeium,
  quanta reduci Regulus solet turba,
  ad alta tonsum templa cum reum misit,
  Materne, cernis? inuidere nolito.
  comitatus iste sit precor tuus numquam.
  hos illi amicos et greges togatorum
  Fuficulenus praestat et Fauentinus.

Maternus, do you spy Saufeius surrounded behind and before by men in togas - a crowd as big as the one that escorts Regulus home when he has sent a shaven defendant to lofty temples? Don't be envious. I pray that you will never have that escort. Fuficulenus and Faventinus provide him with these friends and flocks of men in togas.

Monday, December 13, 2004


quid faciat uult scire Lyris. quod sobria: fellat.

Lyris wants to know what she's doing. The same as when she's sober: sucking cocks.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


hesterna factum narratur, Postume, cena
  quod nollem - quis enim talia facta probet? -
os tibi percisum quanto non ipse Latinus
  uilia Panniculi percuti ora sono.
quodque magis mirum est, auctorem criminis huius
  Caecilium tota rumor in urbe sonat.
esse negas factum: uis hoc me credere? credo.
  quid quod habet testes, Postume, Caecilius?

Word is that something happened at dinner last night, Postumus - something I should like not to have happened (for who could approve of that kind of thing?). The story goes that you were smacked in the mouth louder than even Latinus himself smacks Panniculus' worthless face. And, what's more remarkable, the rumour resounds all over the city that the doer of this outrage was Caecilius. You deny that it happened. You want me to believe that? I believe it then. But what about the fact, Postumus, that Caecilius has witnesses?

Saturday, December 11, 2004


candidius nihil est te, Caeciliane. notaui,
  si quando ex nostris disticha pauca lego,
protinus aut Marsi recitas aut scripta Catulli.
  hoc mihi das, tamquam deteriora legas,
ut conlata magis placeant mea? credimus istud:
  malo tamen recites, Caeciliane, tua.

Nothing's more kind than you, Caecilianus. I've noticed, whenever I read a few couplets from my work, straight away you recite some writing either of Marsus or of Catullus. Do you do this as a favour to me, as if you're reading stuff that's worse than mine, so that when it's compared mine might please all the more? I believe so - but in that case I'd prefer it, Caecilianus, if you read your own.

Friday, December 10, 2004


  non uis in solio prius lauari
  quemquam, Cotile: causa quae, nisi haec est,
  undis ne fouearis irrumatis?
  primus te licet abluas: necesse est
  ante hic mentula quam caput lauetur.

You don't want anyone to wash in the bathtub before you, Cotilus: what's the reason, if it's not that you don't want to soak in water that's sucked a cock? Whilst you can bathe first, it is necessary for you to wash your prick before your head.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


inuitum cenare foris te, Classice, dicis:
  si non mentiris, Classice, dispeream.
ipse quoque ad cenam gaudebat Apicius ire:
  cum cenaret, erat tristior ille, domi.
si tamen inuitus uadis, cur, Classice, uadis?
  'cogor' ais. uerum est; cogitur et Selius.
en rogat ad cenam Melior te, Classice, rectam:
  grandia uerba ubi sunt? si uir es, ecce, nega.

You say, Classicus, that you dine out unwillingly: damn me if you're not lying, Classicus. Even Apicius himself was glad to go to dinner; he was sadder when he dined at home. But if you go unwillingly, then why, Classicus, do you go? You say, 'I'm forced to.' It's true; Selius is forced to as well. Look! Melior is inviting you to a formal dinner: those grand words of yours, where are they? If you're a man, go on - refuse!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


  quod te nomine iam tuo saluto,
  quem regem et dominum prius uocabam,
  ne me dixeris esse contumacem:
  totis pillea sarcinis redemi.
  reges et dominos habere debet
  qui se non habet atque concupiscit
  quod reges dominique concupiscunt.
  seruum si potes, Ole, non habere,
  et regem potes, Ole, non habere.

Because I now greet you by your name, you whom I used to call Lord and Master before, do not say that I am contumacious: with all my chattels I have bought the cap of liberty. That man should have Lords and Masters who does not have himself and who desires what Lords and Masters desire. If you are able not to have a slave, Olus, you are also able not to have a Lord, Olus.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


occurris quocumque loco mihi, Postume, clamas
  protinus et prima est haec tua uox 'quid agis?'
hoc, si me decies una conueneris hora,
  dicis: habes puto tu, Postume, nil quod agas.

Wherever you run into me, Postumus, you shout out at once - and this is the first thing you say - 'Wotcha doing?'. This you say even if you meet me ten times in an hour: I think that you, Postumus, have nothing to do.

Monday, December 06, 2004


unus de toto peccauerat orbe comarum
  anulus, incerta non bene fixus acu.
hoc facinus Lalage speculo, quo uiderat, ulta est,
  et cecidit saeuis icta Plecusa comis.
desine iam, Lalage, tristes ornare capillos,
  tangat et insanum nulla puella caput.
hoc salamandra notet uel saeua nouacula nudet,
  ut digna speculo fiat imago tua.

A single little curl, out of the whole circle of hair, had gone astray; it had not been securely fixed with the unsteady pin. Lalage took revenge for this crime by means of the mirror in which she had seen it, and Plecusa, struck down by the savage tresses, fell. Now stop, Lalage, arranging your grim hair, and let no girl touch your demented head. Let a salamander leave its mark, or let a cruel razor denude it, so that your reflection might become worthy of your mirror.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


  cur tristiorem cernimus Saleianum?
  'an causa leuis est?' inquis, 'extuli uxorem.'
  o grande fati crimen! o grauem casum!
  illa, illa diues mortua est Secundilla,
  centena decies quae tibi dedit dotis?
  nollem accidisset hoc tibi, Saleiane.

Why do we see Saleianus looking a bit sad? 'Is the reason a trivial one?' you say; 'I have buried my wife.' O great crime of fate! O grave misfortune! Is she dead, she, the wealthy Secundilla, who gave you a million in dowry? I wish this hadn't happened to you, Saleianus.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


dum modo causidicum, dum te modo rhetora fingis
  et non decernis, Laure, quid esse uelis,
Peleos et Priami transit et Nestoris aetas
  et fuerat serum iam tibi desinere.
incipe, tres uno perierunt rhetores anno,
  si quid habes animi, si quid in arte uales.
si schola damnatur, fora litibus omnia feruent,
  ipse potest fieri Marsua causidicus.
heia age, rumpe moras! quo te sperabimus usque?
  dum quid sis dubitas, iam potes esse nihil.

While you're fashioning yourself now as a lawyer, now as a rhetorician, and you can't decide, Laurus, what you want to be, the lifetime of a Peleus and a Priam and a Nestor has gone by and now it had been late for you to retire. Make a start - three rhetoricians have died in a single year - if you have any spirit, if you have any strength in the craft. If the school-room meets with your disapproval, the fora are all simmering with lawsuits: Marsyas himself can become a lawyer. Hey, come on! Break off your delaying! How long will we be living in hope? While you're dithering about what you are, you can already be nothing.

Friday, December 03, 2004


sola tibi fuerant sestertia, Miliche, centum,
  quae tulit e Sacra Leda redempta Via.
Miliche, luxuria est si tanti diues amares.
  'non amo' iam dices: haec quoque luxuria est.

You had only a hundred sesterces, Milichus, which were used up buying Leda from the Sacred Way. Milichus, it would be an extravagance, even if you were a rich man, if you were to spend so much for love. Now you'll say 'I don't love her': this, too is extravagance.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


quod pectus, quod crura tibi, quod bracchia uellis,
  quod cincta est breuibus mentula tonsa pilis,
hoc praestas, Labiene, tuae - quis nescit? - amicae.
  cui praestas, culum quod, Labiene, pilas?

You pluck your chest, your legs, your arms, and your shorn prick is ringed with short hairs: this, Labienus, you do (who doesn't know it?) for your girlfriend. For whom, Labienus, do you depilate your arse?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


cum tibi uernarent dubia lanugine malae,
  lambebat medios improba lingua uiros.
postquam triste caput fastidia uispillonum
  et miseri meruit taedia carnificis,
uteris ore aliter nimiaque aerugine captus
  adlatras nomen quod tibi cumque datur.
haereat inguinibus potius tam noxia lingua:
  nam cum fellaret, purior illa fuit.

When your cheeks were in their springtime with their uncertain down, your naughty tongue used to lick men's middles. Now that your sorry head has earned the disgust of the paupers' undertakers and the disgust of the wretched executioner, you use your mouth in a different way, and ensnared by excessive malice you bark at whatever name is passed on to you. Let a tongue which is so noxious attach itself to groins: for when it was sucking cocks it was cleaner.