Saturday, August 1, 2009

Marcus Valerius Martialis'

If you see the artist impression of Bilbilis, exposed in the museum of Catalyud, you can imagine that Marcus Valerius Martialis found it difficult to re-adapt to this provincial town, after his great carreer in Rome. A city, with over 800.000 citizens at that time! Nevertheless, I am happy he did so, while it gives me the legitimacy to add some of his great epigrams to this blog.

My gifts - Book X, 29

That dish you'd send to me on Saturn's day,
you send to your mistress now, Sextilianus:
that green outfit you her on Kalends,
those called after Mars, that my toga's paid for.
Your girls begin to cost you nothing now:
Sextilianus, you're fucking with my gifts!

Carpe diem - Book V, 58

Postumus, tomorrow you'll live, tomorrow you say.
When is it coming, tell me, that tomorrow?
How far off, and where, and how will you find it?
In Armenia, or Parthia, is it concealed then?
Your tomorrow's as old as Nestor or Priam.
How much would it cost you, tell me, to buy?
Tomorrow? It's already too late to live today.
He who lived yesterday, Postumus, he is wise.

The Boy - Book IX, 8

Odeur of dried balsam from last night's vases
the last scent that falls from the saffron's arc
that of apples ripening in winter storage
or a field luxuriant with spring's green shoots
silks from our Empress' Paletine presses
or amber warmed there in a young girl's hand
or a shattered jar, not too near, of dark Falernian
or a garden where they keep Sicilian bees
what the alabaster boxes Cosmus sells, smell of,
the God's altars, a wreath slipped from perfumed hair -
why speak of them? None will do, mingle them all:
and that's the fragrance of my boy's dawn kisses.
You wish to know his name? It it's re: kisses, I'tell you.
You swear it! Sabinus, you're far too anxious to know.

More about the life and work of Martialis, you can find here!

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