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Martial, Epigrams. Book 6. Bohn's Classical Library (1897)



To you, Martialis, especially dear to me, I send my sixth book; which if it should be polished with your exact taste, may venture, with little anxiety or apprehension, into the august presence of Caesar.


It used to be a common sport to violate the sacred rites of marriage; a common sport to mutilate innocent males. You now forbid both, Caesar, and promote future generations, whom you desire to be born without illegitimacy. Henceforth, under your rule, there will be no such thing as a eunuch or an adulterer; while before, oh sad state of morals! the two were combined in one.


Spring into light, O child promised to the Trojan Iulus,1 true scion of the gods; spring into light, illustrious child! May your father, after a long series of years, put into your hands the reins of empire, to hold for ever; and may you rule the world, yourself an old man, in concert with your still more aged sire, for you shall Julia herself 2 with her snow-white thumb, draw out the golden threads of life, and spin the whole fleece of Phrixus' ram.

1 Martial speaks as if the Fates had promised the birth of this prince to Iulus the son of Aeneas.
2 Niece of Domitian, and daughter of Titus, who, Martial intimates, must necessarily love her cousin, and desire to spin for him, like one of the Fates, a long and happy thread of life.


Most mighty censor, prince of princes, although Rome is already indebted to you for so many triumphs, so many temples, new or rebuilt, so many spectacles, so many gods, so many cities, she owes you a still greater debt in owing to you her chastity.


I have bought a farm in the country for a great sum of money; I ask you, Caecilianus, to lend me a hundred thousand sesterces. Do you make me no answer? I believe, you are saying within yourself "You will not repay me." It is for that reason, Caecilianus, that I ask you.


There are three actors on the stage; but your Paula, Lupercus, loves a fourth: Paula loves a muta persona.

Three are the drama's persons, Paula's four.
Your modest Paula can the mute adore. 


From the time when the Julian law, Faustinus, was revived, and modesty was ordered to enter Roman homes, it is now either less, or certainly not more, than the thirtieth day, and Telesilla is already marrying her tenth husband. She who marries so often cannot be said to marry at all; she is an adulteress under cover of the law. An avowed prostitute offends me less.


Two auctioneers, four tribunes, seven lawyers, ten poets, were recently asking the hand of a certain young lady from her aged father. Without hesitation, he gave her to the auctioneer Eulogus. Tell me, Severus, did he act foolishly? 

Welsh Judges two, four military men, 
Seven noisy lawyers, Oxford scholars ten, 
Were of an old man's daughter in pursuit. 
Soon the curmudgeon ended the dispute, 
By giving her unto a thriving grocer. 
What think you? did he play the fool, or no, sir?


You go to sleep in the theatre of Pompeius, Laevinus, and do you complain if Oceanus 1 disturbs you?

1 See B. iii. Ep. 96; B. v. Ep. 27


A little while ago, when I happened to ask of Jupiter a few thousand sesterces, he replied, "He will give them to you, who has given temples to me." Temples indeed he has given to Jupiter, but to me no thousands at all. I am ashamed, alas! of having asked too little of our Jupiter. Yet how kindly, how undisturbed with anger, and with how placid a countenance, did he read my request! With such did he restore their diadems to the suppliant Dacians, with such does he go and come along the way to the Capitol. O Virgin,2 confidant of our Jupiter, tell me, I pray you, if he refuses with such a look as this, with what sort is he wont to grant? Thus I besought Pallas, and thus she, laying aside her Gorgon, briefly replied: "Do you imagine, foolish man, that what is not yet given is necessarily refused?"

2 Pallas, of whom Domitian was a votary. B. iv. Ep. 1.


Do you wonder, Marcus, that a Pylades and an Orestes are not to be found in the present day? Pylades, Marcus, used to drink the same wine as Orestes; and before Orestes was not set a better kind of bread or a fatter thrush, but there was one and the same entertainment for both. You devour Lucrine oysters; I feed upon those from the waters of Peloris; and yet my taste is not less nice than yours, Marcus. You are clothed from Cadmean Tyre; I, in the coarse garments of Gaul. Do you expect me, clad in a common solder's cloak, to love you who are resplendent in purple? If I am to play Pylades, let some one play Orestes to me; and this is not to be done by words, Marcus. To be loved, show love yourself.


Fabulla swears that the hair which she has bought is her own. Does she perjure herself, Paulus?

The golden hair that Galla wears it hers; 
Who would have thought it?
She swears it is hers, and true she swears. 
For I know where she bought it.
                      Sir John Harrington.


Who would not suppose you, Julia, to have been fashioned by the chisel of Phidias, or to be the offspring of the art of Pallas herself? The white Lygdian marble seems to answer in the speaking image, and a life-like gloss beams on your placid countenance. Your hand plays, not ungracefully, with the cestus of the Acidalian goddess, stolen from the neck of little Cupid. To revive the love of Mars and of the supreme Blunderer, let Juno and Venus herself ask of you your cestus.


You assert, Laberius, that you can write excellent verses; why then do you not write them? Whoever can write excellent verses, and does not write them, I shall regard as a remarkable man.


While an ant was wandering under the shade of the tree of Phaeton, a drop of amber enveloped the tiny insect; thus she who in life was disregarded, became precious by death.


O  you who, with your staff, affright men, and with your scythe, debauchees, defend these few acres of sequestered ground. So may no old thieves, but only boys and girls, graced with long tresses, enter your orchards,


You would have us, Cinnamus, call you Cinna. Would not this Cinna, I ask you, be a barbarism? By a similar process, if you had been previously named Roberson, you might now be called Robber.

1  The barber, probably, to whom the sixty-fourth Epigram of Book vii. is addressed.


The sacred shade of Saloninus, than which no better looks upon the Stygian abodes, reposes in the land of Spain. But we must not lament him; for he who has left you, Priscus, behind him, lives in that part of himself in which he preferred to live.


My suit has nothing to do with assault, or battery, or poisoning, but is about three goats, which, I complain, have been stolen by my neighbour. This the judge desires to have proved to him; but you, with swelling words and extravagant gestures, dilate on the Battle of Cannae, the Mithridatic war, and the perjuries of the insensate Carthaginians, the Sullae, the Marii, and the Mucii. It is time, Postumus, to say something about my three goats.


I asked you, Phoebus, for the loan of a hundred thousand sesterces, in consequence of your having said to me, "What them, do you want nothing of me?" You make inquiries, you doubt, you torment both yourself and me for ten days. Now, pray, Phoebus, refuse me at once.


In uniting for ever Ianthis to the poet Stella, Venus gaily said to him, "I could not give you more." This she said before his mistress; but added maliciously in his ear, "Be careful, rash man, not to be guilty of any folly. Often have I, in a rage, beaten the dissolute Mars for his wandering propensities before he was fairly united to me. But now he is my own, he has never wronged me with a rival. Juno would be happy to find Jupiter as well conducted." She spoke, and struck the poet's breast with her mysterious cestus. The blow was sweet: but now, O goddess, spare your votary.1

1 The generality of editors understand it to mean, "strike both Ianthis and Stella, that one may be as faithful as the other."


When, Proculina, you marry your paramour, and, in order that the Julian law may not touch you, make him your husband who was recently your gallant, it is not a marriage, Proculina, but a confession.


You wish me, Lesbia, ever to be ready for your service; believe me, a bow is not always strung. However strongly you try to move me with caresses and soothing words, your face invincibly prevents your success.


Nobody can be more luxurious than Charisianus. He walks about during the Saturnalia clad in a toga.1

1 Martial imputes that to the effrontery of Charisianus which is to be attributed to his poverty. The richer sort of people, at the Saturnalia, exchanged the toga for the synthesis, or lighter dress, in which they dined.


Marcellinus, true scion of a worthy sire, you whom the shaggy bear covers with the Parrhasian car,1 hear what I, the old friend of you and your father, desire for you, and retain these my prayers in your mindful heart: That your valour may not be rash, and that no daring ardour may hurry you into the midst of swords and cruel weapons. Let them who are devoid of reason wish for war and savage Man; you can be the soldier both of your father and of your emperor.

1 The Car of Bootes, or Charles's Wain; the same as the Great Bear, into which Callisto of Parrhasia in Arcadia is said to have been metamorphosed. See B. iv. Ep. 11.


Our friend Sotades is putting his head in danger. Do you suppose Sotades is accused of any crime? He is not. But, being unable any longer to hold out a stout truncheon, he goes to work with his tongue.


O Nepos, who are doubly my neighbour (for you, like myself inhabit a dwelling next to the Temple of Flora, as well as the ancient Ficeliae),1 to you has been born a daughter, whose face is stamped with the likeness of her father, evidence of her mother's fidelity. Spare not too much, however, the old Falernian, and leave behind you casks filled with money rather than with wine. May your daughter be affectionate and rich, but let her drink new wine; and let the wine-jar, now new, grow old along with its mistress.2 The Caecuban vintage must not be the drink of those only who have no children; fathers of families, believe me, can also enjoy life.

1  My neighbour in the town, and my neighbour in the country. Martial had a piece of ground near Ficeliae, a town of the Sabines.
2 Drink the old wine yourself, and let her drink that which is made at the time of her birth, which will grow old with her.


Glaucias, the well-known freedman of Melior, at whose death all Rome wept, the short-lived delight of his affectionate patron, reposes beneath this marble sepulchre close to the Flaminian Way, He was a youth of pure morals, of simple modesty, of ready wit, and of rare beauty. To twice six harvests completed, the youth was just adding another year. Traveller, who laments his fate, may you never have ought else to lament!


Glaucias was not of the lower class of house slaves, nor of such as are sold in the common market: but he was a youth worthy of the tender affection of his master, and, before he could as yet appreciate the kindness of his patron, he was already made the freedman of Melior. This was the reward of his morals and his beauty. Who was more attractive than he? or whose face more resembled that of Apollo? Short is the life of those who possess uncommon endowments, and rarely do they reach old age. Whatever you love, pray that you may not love it too much.


If you had given me six thousand sesterces forthwith, when you said to me, "Take them, and carry them away, I make you a present of them," I should have felt as much indebted to you, Paetus, as if you had given me two hundred thousand. But now, when you have given them to me after a long delay,----after seven, I believe, or nine months,----I can tell you (shall I?) something as true as truth itself: you have lost all thanks, Paetus, for the six thousand sesterces.1

1 He gives twice who gives quickly. Had you given me the six thousand sesterces when I wanted them, and when you promised me them, I should have been greatly indebted to you; but you have delayed so long that I cannot now even thank you for letting me have them.


You are aware that your physician, Charidemus, is the lover of your wife; you know it, and permit it. You wish to die without a fever?1

1 You make no opposition to the physician's proceedings, because you do not wish him to poison you, in order to get you out of the way. Or, you take things so calmly that you will never be thrown into a fever by feelings of resentment. 


While Bellona yet hesitated as to the result of the civil war, and the gentle Otho had still a chance of gaining the day, he looked with horror on a contest which would cost great bloodshed, and with resolute hand plunged the sword into his breast. Grant that Cato, in life, was even greater than Caesar; was he greater in death than Otho?


You have never seen any human being more miserable, Matho, than the debauchee Sabellus, than whom, before, no one was more joyful. Thefts, the escape or death of slaves, fires, mournings, afflict the unhappy man. He is so wretched that he even becomes natural in his appetites.2

2 Furta, fugae, mortes servorum, incendia, luctus
Affligunt hominem; jam miser et futuit. 
Dives, pueros deperibat; pauper, mulieribus contentus esse cogitur.


Give me, Diadumenus, close kisses. "How many?" you say. You bid me count the waves of the ocean, the shells scattered on the shores of the Aegaean Sea, the bees that wander on Attic Hybla, or the voices and clappings that resound in the full theatre, when the people suddenly see the countenance of the emperor. I should not be content even with as many as Lesbia, after many entreaties, gave to the witty Cattullus;1 he wants but few, who can count them.

1 See Catullus, Ep.5, ad Lesbiam.


The judge has reluctantly permitted you, Caecilianus, on your long importunity, to exhaust the clepsydra 1 seven times. But you talk much and long; and, bending half backwards, you quaff tepid water out of glasses. To satisfy at once your voice and your thirst, pray drink, Caecilianus, from the clepsydra itself.

1 A clock which measured time by the fall of a certain quantity of water confined in a cylindrical vessel. See Beckman's Hist. of Inventions. v. 1. p. 82. (Bohn, 1846.)


[Not translated in Bohn or Loeb]


[Not translated in Bohn or Loeb]

Medal so fine, 
Short-breech'd Carine, 
No vain superfluous relics has, 
Yet itches from the head to the waist! 
O wretch, what pain 
Do you sustain? 
I've no place for it. 
Still love the sport?


Do you see how the little Regulus, who has not yet completed his third year, praises his father whenever he hears his name mentioned? and how he leaves his mother's lap when he sees his father, and feels that his father's glory is his own? The applause, and the court of the Centumviri, and the closely packed surrounding crowd, and the Julian temple,1 form the child's delight. Thus the scion of the noble horse delights in the dusty expanse of the plain; thus the steer with tender forehead longs for the combat. Ye gods, preserve, I entreat, to the mother and father the object of their prayers, that Regulus may have the pleasure of listening to his son, and his wife to both.

1 The temple of Julius Caesar, where the body of judges called the Centumviri had their four courts for hearing law-suits.


Marulla has made you, Cinna, the father of seven children, I will not say freeborn, for not one of them is either your own or that of any friend or neighbour; but all being conceived on menial beds or mats, betray, by their looks, the infidelities of their mother. This, who runs towards us so like a Moor, with his crisped hair, avows himself the offspring of the cook Santra; while that other, with flattened nose and thick lips, is the very image of Pannicus, the wrestler. Who can be ignorant, that knows or has ever seen the blear-eyed Dama, that the third is that baker's son? The fourth, with his fair face and voluptuous air, evidently sprung from your favourite Lygdus. You may debauch your offspring if you please; it will be no crime. As to this one, with tapering head and long ears, like asses, who would deny that he is the son of the idiot Cyrrha? The two sisters, one swarthy, the other red-haired, are the offspring of the piper Crotus, and the bailiff Carpus, Your flock of hybrids would have been quite complete, if Coresus and Dyndymus had not been incapable.


Then was not a woman that could be preferred to you, Lycoris; there is now none that can be preferred to Glycera. Glycera will be what you are; you cannot be what she is. What power time has! I once desired you; I now desire her.


Yon poet, who recites with his throat and neck wrapped in wool, intimates that he finds great difficulty in speaking and equal difficulty in keeping silence.

Who pleads with throat bound up, what's his disease? 
That he can neither speak, nor hold his peace.
                                            Old MS. 16th Cent.


Unless you bathe, Oppianus, in the baths of Etruscus you will die unpurified. No waters will receive you so pleasantly; neither the springs of Aponus, forbidden to young maidens;1 nor the relaxing Sinuessa;2 nor the stream of the fervid Passer, nor the proud Auxur, nor the baths of Apollo at Cuma, nor those of Baiae, most delightful of all. Nowhere is the air more clear and serene; light itself stays longer, there, and from no spot does day retire more reluctantly. There blaze resplendently the green quarries of Taygetus Tying with rocks 3 of variegated beauty, which the Phrygian and the Libyan have hewn deeply, the dewy onyx4 emits its dry rays, and the ophites glow with a tiny flame. If the Lacedemonian customs please you, you may, after being gratified with dry heat, plunge into the Virgin or Martian waters;5 which shine so brilliantly, and are so pure, that you would scarcely suspect any water to be there, and imagine you saw nothing but the polished Lygdian marble. But you are not attending, and have all the while been listening to me with a deaf ear. You will die unclean Oppianus.

1 A stream near Patavium, which was said to scorch up maidens who went into it after a man had been bathing in it.
2  A town of Campania, near which flowed the river Passer.
3  Marble from Phrygia and Libya.
4 It has a dewy appearance, but is in reality dry.
5 The Aqua virgo, see B. v. Ep. 21, and the Aqua Marcia, were famous at Rome for their purity.


While happy Baiae, Castricus, is showering its favours upon you, and its fair nymph receives you to swim in her sulphureous waters, I am strengthened by the repose of my Nomentan farm, in a cottage which gives me no trouble with its numerous acres. Here is my Baian sunshine and the sweet Lucrine lake; here have I, Castricius, all such riches as you are enjoying. Time was when I betook myself at pleasure to any of the far-famed watering-places, and felt no apprehension of long journeys. Now spots near town, and retreats of easy access, are my delight; and I am content if permitted to be idle.


You imagine, Calliodorus, that your jesting is witty, and that you above all others overflow with an abundance of Attic salt. You smile at all, you utter pleasantries upon all, and you think that by so doing you will please at the dinner table. But I will tell you something, not very nice, but very true. No one will invite you, Calliodorus, to drink out of his glass.1

1 Propter oris tui impuritatem.


You have had your diversion; it is enough. You, who have lived so freely, are married, and now only chaste pleasure is allowed you. But is there any chaste pleasure, when Laetoria is married to Lygdus? She will be worse as a wife than she recently was as a mistress.


Yon chariot is urged by the unremitting whip of the blue faction driver, yet it moves no faster: truly, Catianus, you do wonders! 1

1 By lashing his horses so much, and yet keeping them in the same spot.


You household nymph of my friend Stella, who glides, with pure stream, beneath the gemmed halls of your lord, whether the consort of Numa has sent you from the caves of the triple goddess, or whether you come as the ninth of the band of Muses, Marcus releases himself from his vows to you by sacrificing this virgin pig, because, when ill, be drank furtively of your waters. Do you, reconciled to me at length by this expiation, grant me the peaceful delights of your fountain; and let my draughts be always attended with health.


When your crowd of attendants so loudly applaud you, Pomponius, it is not you, but your banquet, that is eloquent.

"Sophos," to thee your clients cry; but know
Thy supper's eloquent,-----you are not so.


I am not carved out of the fragile elm, and this column, which rises so straight and so firm, is not made of wood taken at random, but is produced from the evergreen cypress, which fears neither hundreds of centuries nor the decay of a long-protracted old age. Fear it, evil-doer, whoever you may be; for if you injure with rapacious hand even the smallest cluster on this vine, this cypress shall engraft upon your body, however much you may struggle against it, a fig-tree which will bear fruit.1

1 See B. iv. Ep. 52.


While Telesinus was poor, and cultivated virtuous and honest friends, he used to wander about in sorry guise, clad in a chilly little toga. But since he has begun to pay court to persons of licentious character, he can buy himself plate, table services, and farms. Do you wish to become rich, Bithynicus? Become a panderer to vice; virtuous courses will gain you nothing, or very little.

Whilst he did none but honest friends observe, 
In thread-bare cloak he walk'd, and like to starve: 
Since he's the wanton gallants' nabber grown, 
He farmes good fayre, and coin has of his own. 
Would you be rich, then you must share the crimes, 
Else not the wealth, of these licentious times.
                                     Old Ms.16th Century.


I have found out how to be even with you, Lupercus, for so often having guests at dinner without me. I am in a passion, and however frequently you may invite me, and send for me, and press me----"What will you do?" you say. What will I do?-----I will come.


In this tomb reposes Pantagathus, the object of his master's affection and regret, snatched away in the prime of youth. Well skilled was he in clipping stray hairs with scissors that gently touched them, and in trimming bristly cheeks. Earth, be propitious to him, as is right, and lie lightly on him; you cannot be lighter than was the artist's hand.


Andragoras bathed, and supped gaily with me; and in the morning was found dead. Do you ask, Faustinus, the cause of a death so sudden? He had seen Doctor Hermocrates in a dream.

Bath'd, supp'd, in glee Andragoras went to bed 
Last night; but in the morning was found dead: 
Would'st know, Faustinus, what was his disease? 
He dreaming saw the quack, Hermocrates.
                     Montaigne (by Cotton), B. ii ch. 37.


If, Aulus, you forbid Sextilianus to speak of his "so great" and "so great," the poor fellow will be scarcely able to put three words together. "What does he mean? you ask. I will tell you what I suspect: namely, that Sextilianus is fallen in love with his "so great" and "so great."1

1 Tantos et tantus. Praegrandes drancos eorumque caudas.


Because you are always redolent of lavender and cinnamon, and stained with the spoils from the nest of the proud phoenix, exhale the odour of Nicerotius's 2 leaden vases, you smile with contempt, Coracinus, on us, who smell of nothing. I would rather smell of nothing than of scents.

2 A perfumer.


[Not translated in Bohn or Loeb]


You manufacture, with the aid of unguents, a false head of hair, and your bald and dirty skull is covered with dyed locks. There is no need to have a hairdresser for your head. A sponge, Phoebus, would do the business better.


While you, Aulus, delight in a near view of the Arcadian bear, and with enduring the climate of northern skies, oh how nearly had I, your friend, been carried off to the waters of Styx, and. seen the dusky clouds of the Elysian plain! My eyes, weak as they were, continually looked round for your countenance, and the name of Pudens was perpetually on my cold tongue. If the wool-spinning sisters do not weave the threads of my life black, and my voice does not address inattentive deities, you will return safe to the cities of Latium to see your friend safe, and, as a deserving knight, be rewarded with the rank of first centurion.


Baccara, desirous of exhibiting his six hundred fur mantles, grieves and complains that the cold does not attack him. He prays for dark days, and wind, and snow; and hates wintry days which are at all warm. What ill, cruel mortal, have our light cloaks, which the least breath of wind may carry off our shoulders, done you? How much simpler and more honest would it be for you to wear your fur cloaks even in the month of August.


Pompullus has accomplished his end, Faustinus; he will be read, and his name be spread through the whole world! So may the inconstant race of the yellow-haired Germans flourish, and whoever loves not the rule of Rome! Yet the writing of Pompullus are said to be ingenious; but for fame, believe me, that is not enough. How many eloquent writers are there, who afford food for mites and worms, and whose learned verses are bought only by cooks! Something more is wanting to confer immortality on writings. A book destined to live must have genius.


Rome, city of my affections, praises, loves, and recites my compositions; I am in every lap, and in every hand. But see, yon gentleman grows red and pale by turns, looks amazed, yawns, and, in fact, hates me. I am delighted at the sight; my writings now please me.


Salanus has lost his only son. Do you delay to send presents, Oppianus? Alas, cruel destiny and remorseless Fates! of what vulture shall the corpse of Salanus be the prey?


You know, Marianus, that you are obsequiously courted; you know that he who courts you is a covetous fellow; you know what his attentions mean; and yet you name him in your will, foolish man, as your heir, and destine him, as if you were out of your mind, to take your place. "But he has sent me, you say, large presents." True, but they are a baited hook; and can the fish ever love the fisherman? Will this pretender bewail your death with real sorrow? If you desire him to weep, Marianus, give him nothing.


Although you are neither sprung from the austere race of the Fabii, nor are such as he whom the wife of Curius Dentatus brought forth when seized with her pains beneath a shady oak, as she was carrying her husband his dinner at the plough; but are the son of a father who plucked the hair from his face at a looking-glass, and of a mother condemned to wear the toga in public; 1 and are one whom your wife might call wife;2 you allow yourself to find fault with my books, which are known to fame, and to carp at my best jokes,----jokes to which the chief men of the city and of the courts do not disdain to lend an attentive ear,-----jokes which the immortal Silius deigns to receive in his library, which the eloquent Regulus so frequently repeats, and which win the praises of Sura, the neighbour of the Aventine Diana, who beholds at less distance than others the contests of the great circus.3 Even Caesar himself the lord of all, the supporter of so great a weight of empire, does not think it beneath him to read my jests two or three times. But you, perhaps, have more genius; you have, by the polishing of Minerva, an understanding more acute; and the subtle Athena has formed your taste. May I die, if there is not far more understanding in the heart of the animal which, with entrails hanging down, and large foot, lungs coloured with concealed blood,----an object to be feared by all noses,----is carried by the cruel butcher from street to street You have the audacity, too, to write verses, which no one will read, and to waste your miserable paper upon me. But if the heat of my wrath should burn a mark upon you, it will live, and remain, and will be noted all through the city; nor will even Cinnamus, with all his cunning, efface the stigma. But have pity upon yourself, and do not, like a furious dog, provoke with rabid mouth the fuming nostrils of a living bear. However calm he may be, and however gently he may lick your fingers and hands, he will, if resentment and bite and just anger excite him, prove a true bear. Let me advise you, therefore, to exercise your teeth on an empty hide, and to seek for carrion which you may bite with impunity.

1 As being an adulteress.
2 So effeminate are you.
3 His house overlooked the Circus Maximus.


"You write epigrams in hexameters," is what Tucca, I know, is saying. There are, Tucca, precedents for it; in a word, Tucca, it is allowable. "But this one, you say, is very long." There are precedents for its length also, Tucca, and it is allowable. If you approve of shorter ones, read only my distichs. Let us agree, Tucca, that I shall be at liberty to write long epigrams, and you be at liberty not to read them.


The crier Gellianus was lately offering for sale a young lady of not over-good reputation, such as sit in the middle of the Suburra.1 When she had been for sometime standing at a small price, the seller, desiring to prove her purity to all around, drew her towards him, and, while she feigned resistance, kissed her two, three, and four times. Do you ask the result he produced by his kisses? It was, that he who had just offered six hundred sesterces, withdrew his bidding.

1 A street in Rome where prostitutes dwelt.


Do you ask, Pannicus, why your wife Caelia has about her only priests of Cybele? Caelia loves the flowers of marriage, but fears the fruits.


Bewail your crime, you Naiads, bewail it through the whole Lucrine lake, and may Thetis herself hear your mourning! Eutychus, your sweet inseparable companion, Castricus, has been snatched away from you, and has perished amid the waters of Bais. He was the partner and kind consoler of all your cares: he was the delight, the Alexis, of our poet. Was it that the amorous nymph saw your charms exposed beneath the crystal waves, and thought that she was sending back Hylas to Hercules? Or has Salmacis at length left her effeminate Hermaphroditus, attracted by the embrace of a tender but vigorous youth? Whatever it may be, whatever the cause of a bereavement so sudden, may the earth and the water, I pray, be propitious to you.


I do not wonder that your Bassa, Catullus, drinks water;1 but I do wonder that the daughter of Bassus2 drinks water.

1 Os enim, quo tibi morigeratur, purgari debet.
2 Who was a drunkard.


Sixty summers, Marcianus, and, I think, two more have been completed by Cotta, and he does not remember ever to have felt the weariness of a bed of sickness even for a single day. With resolute, nay uncourteous feature, he bids the doctors Alcon, Dasius, and Symmachus keep at a distance. If our years were accurately counted, and if the amount subtracted from them by cruel fevers, or oppressive languor, or painful maladies, were separated from the happier portion of our lives, we should be found in reality but infants, though we seem to be old men. He who thinks that the lives of Priam and of Nestor were long is much deceived and mistaken. Life consists not in living, but in enjoying health.

S' By spleen, by head-ache, every other ill; 
Though we seem old, we are but children still. 
If any think Priam or Nestor old, 
Though o'er the last three centuries had rolled, 
They're much deceived; for sense and reason tell, 
That life is only life when we are well.


Telethusa, skilled in displaying attractive gestures to the sound of her Spanish castanets, and in dancing the sportive dances of Cadiz; Telethusa, capable of exciting the decrepit Pelias, and of moving the husband of Hecuba at the tomb of Hector; Telethusa inflames and tortures her former master. He sold her a slave, he now buys her back a mistress.


A Cilician, a thief of but too notorious rapacity, wished to rob a certain garden; but in the whole grounds, large as they were, Fabullus, there was nothing save a marble Priapus. As he did not wish to return empty-handed, the Cilician stole Priapus himself.


No rude rustic fashioned me with untaught pruning knife; you behold the noble handywork of the steward. For Hilarus, the most noted cultivator of the Caeretan territory, possesses these hills and smiling eminences. Behold my well-formed face, I do not seem made of wood, nor the arms I bear destined for the flames, but my imperishable sceptre, fashioned of ever-green cypress, in manner worthy of the hand of Phidias, boldly presents itself. Neighbours, I warn you, worship the divinity of Priapus, and respect these fourteen acres.


That guest reclining at his ease on the middle couch, whose bald heed is furnished with three hairs, and half daubed over with pomade, and who is digging in his half-opened month with a lentisc toothpick, is trying to impose upon us, Aefulanus; he has no teeth.


When you send me a thrush, or a slice of cheesecake, or a hare's thigh, or something of that sort, you tell me, Pontia, that you have sent me the dainties of your choice. I shall not send these to any one else, Pontia, nor shall I eat them myself. 1

1 Pontia was skilled in poisoning. See B. ii. Ep. 34.


Fuscus, lately the guardian of the sacred person of the emperor, the supporter of the Mars who administered civil justice at home, the leader to whom the army of our sovereign lord was entrusted, lies buried here. We may confess this, Fortune, that that stone now fears not the threats of enemies; the Dacian has received our proud yoke with subdued neck, and the victorious shade of Fuscus reposes in a grove which he had made his own.1

1 Fuscus died fighting against the Dacians, and was buried in Dacian ground.


When you are poorer than even the wretched Irus, more vigorous than even Parthenopaeus, 2 stronger than even Artemidorus 3 in his prime, why do you delight to be carried by six Cappadocian slaves? You are laughed at, Afer, and derided much more than you would be were you to walk unattired in the middle of the Forum. Just so do people point at the dwarf Atlas4 on his dwarf mule, and the black elephant carrying its Libyan driver of similar hue. Do you wish to know why your litter brings you into so much ridicule? You ought not to be carried, even when dead, on a bier borne by six persons.5

2  One of the seven chiefs against Thebes.
3  A pancratiast in the reigns of Galba and Vitellius. 
Mentioned by Juvenal, viii. 81.
5 You ought to be buried as a poor person, on a smaller bier.


Phryx, a famous drinker, Aulus, was blind of one eye, and purblind of the other. His doctor Heras said to him, "Beware of drinking; if you drink wine, you will not see at all." Phryx, laughing, said to his eye, "I must bid you farewell!" and forthwith ordered cups to be mixed for him in copious succession. Do you ask the result? While Phryx drank wine, his eye drank poison.


You are sad in the midst of every blessing. Take care that Fortune does not observe, or she will call you ungrateful.


Anxious to pay her court to you, the land of the Nile had sent to you, Caesar, as new gifts, some winter roses. The Memphian sailor felt little respect for the gardens of Egypt, after he had crossed the threshold of your city; such was the splendour of the spring, and the beauty of balmy Flora; and such the glory of the Paestan rose-beds. So brightly, too, wherever he directed his steps or his looks, did every path shine forth with garlands of flowers. But do you, O Nile, since you are compelled to yield to Roman winters, send us your harvests, and receive our roses.


[Not translated in Bohn.  Loeb version given]

You wash, Charidemus, as if you were in a rage with the people; such a cleaning you give your middle all over the bath. 1 Even your head I should not wish you to wash here in such a fashion, Charidemus. Lo! you wash your head too: I prefer your washing your middle.

1. So polluting the water.


A man, the other day, Rufus, after having diligently contemplated me just as a buyer of slaves or a trainer of gladiators might do, and after having examined me with eye and hand, said, "Are you, are you really, that Martial, whose lively sallies and jests are known to every one who has not a downright Dutchman's ear?" I smiled faintly, and with a careless nod admitted that I was the person he supposed. "Why then," said he, "have you so bad a cloak?" I answered, "Because I am a bad poet." That this, Rufus, may not happen again to your poet, send me a good cloak.


As much as the fortune of the father of Etruscus1 owes to the solicitations of the son, so much, most powerful of princes, do both owe to you; for you have recalled the thunderbolt launched by your right hand; I could wish that the fires of Jupiter were of a similar character. Would that the all-powerful Thunderer had your feelings, Caesar; his hand would then rarely apply its full force to the thunderbolt. From your clemency Etruscus acknowledges that he has received the double boon of being allowed to accompany his father when he went into exile, and when he returned from it.

1 There were two Etrusci, father and son; the father was sent into exile by Domitian, and the son accompanied him. By the solicitations of the son, Domitian was induced to allow the father to return. See B. vii. Ep. 30, and Statius Sylv. 3.


Philippus, in good bodily health, is carried, Avitus, in a litter borne by eight men. But if, Avitus, you think him sane, you are yourself insane.


My sixth book is published without you, Rufus Camonius, for a patron, and cannot hope to have you, my friend, for a reader. The impious land of the Cappadocians, beheld by you under a malignant star, restores only your ashes and bones to your father. Four forth, bereaved Bononia, your tears for your Rufus, and let the voice of your wailing be heard throughout the Aemilian Way. Alas! how sweet an affection, alas! how short a life, has departed! He had seen but just five times the award of prises at the Olympian games. O Rufus, you who were wont to read through my trifles with careful attention, and to retain my jests in your memory, receive this short strain with the tears of your sorrowful friend, and regard them as. incense offered by him who is far removed from you.


O wine of Setia, O excellent snow, O goblets constantly refilled, when am I to drink you with no doctor to prevent me? He is a fool, and ungrateful, and unworthy of so great a boon, who would rather be heir to the rich Midas, than enjoy you. May he who is envious of me possess the harvests of Libya, and the Hermus, and the Tagus, and drink warm water.


May the gods and you yourself indulge you with whatever you deserve! May the gods and you yourself indulge me with whatever I wish, if I have deserved it!


One morning, Caecilianus, I happened to salute you simply by your name, without calling you, "My Lord." Does any one ask how much that freedom cost me? it has cost me a hundred farthings.1

1 Centum quadrantes, the usual value of the sportula of present made by the rich to their dependants instead of a dinner. 


Panaretus, full of wine, called with eloquent finger,2 just at midnight, for a vessel necessary for a certain purpose. A Spoletan wine-jar was brought to him; one which he had himself drained to the dregs, but which had not been enough for him, though drinking alone. Most faithfully measuring back to the jar its former contents, he restored the full quantity of wine to its receptacle. Are you astonished that the jar held all that he had drunk? Cease to be astonished, Rufus; he drunk it neat.

2 By snapping his thumb and finger, the usual signal to the attendants.


Gellia has but one gallant; this is a great disgrace, but, what is a greater, she is the wife of two husbands.


The sacred censorial edict of our sovereign Lord condemns and forbids adultery. Rejoice, Zoilus, that your tastes exempt you from this law.1

1 Feminas enim non inibat, utpote fellator. 

The emperor's law forbids adultery;
But grieve not, Zoilus; 'twill not touch thee.


By the serpent which the art of Myron has graven on your cup, Ammianus, it is indicated that, in drinking Vatican wine,2 you drink poison.

2 Which was the worst sort of wine.


Thais smells worse than an old jar of a covetous fuller just broken in the middle of the street; worse than a goat after an amorous encounter; than the belch of a lion; than a hide torn from a dog on the banks of the Tiber; than chick rotting in an abortive egg; than a jar fetid with spoilt pickle. Cunningly wishing to exchange this disagreeable odour for some other, she, on laying aside her garments to enter the bath, makes herself green with a depilatory, or conceals herself beneath a daubing of chalk dissolved in acid, or covers herself with three or four layers of rich bean-unguent. When by a thousand artifices she thinks she has succeeded in making herself safe, Thais, after all, smells of Thais.


Calpetianus' table is always laid with a gold service, whether he dines abroad or at his own house in town. So, too, does he sup even in an inn or at his country house. Has he then nothing else? No! and even that is not his own.1

1 The meaning is uncertain; but it seems to be intimated either that he had borrowed or hired plate, for the sake of ostentation, or that he had got it by dishonest means.

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