Translations from Martial


Marcus Valerius Martialis (whose dates are approximately 38AD to 102AD) was a Roman poet born in Spain, best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, which satirise Roman life and personalities.


Papylus, itís true you serve the very best
Setine or Massic to your guests,
But a nasty rumour says these wines
Are not as good as their label; that four times
Youíve become a widower with their aid. I donít think
This, or believe it Ė but thank you, I wonít drink.



This chap here Ė his left arm loaded
With books, attended by a beardless troop
Of twittering notaries, who frowns
So learnedly at proffered papers, looking
As grave as Cato, Brutus, Cicero Ė
Is quite unable to manage the words
ďGood morningĒ in either Latin or Greek.
Torture couldnít elicit them. If you think Iím joking,
Rufus, letís just say hello.



Glycera will be
What you were, Lycoris, to me;
Thatís how much time can do.
Itís just a difference
Of tense:
I want her. I wanted you.



You watch me bathing, and wonder aloud
From time to time about my lovely boys Ė
Why are they so suspiciously well-hung?
Iíll answer your question frankly, Philomusus.
They have the task of buggering nosy-parkers.

translated by
Brent Southgate

If you have any comments on these translations,  Brent Southgate   would be pleased to hear from you.