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Martial, Epigrams. Book 14. Mainly from Bohn's Classical Library (1897)


BOOK XIV.

THE PRESENTS MADE TO GUESTS AT FEASTS. 

I. TO THE READER.

Now, while the knights and the lordly senators delight in the festive robe, and the cap5 of liberty is assumed by our Jupiter; 6 and while the slave, as he rattles the dice-box, has no fear of the Aedile, seeing that the ponds are so nearly frozen,7 learn alternately what is allotted to the rich and to the poor. Let each make suitable presents to his friends. That these contributions of mine are follies and trifles, and even worse, who does not know? or who denies what is so evident? But what can I do better, Saturn, on these days of pleasure, which your son himself has consecrated to you in compensation for the heaven from which he ejected you? Would you have me write of Thebes, or of Troy, or of the crimes of Mycenae? You reply, "Play with nuts. But I don't want to waste even nuts. Reader, you may finish this book wherever you please, every subject is completed in a couple of lines.

5 Caps were worn generally daring the Saturnalia. See B. xi. Ep. 6.
6  Domitian.
7 Seeing winter to near at hand.

II. TO THE READER.

If you ask why headings are affixed, I will tell you; it is that, if you choose, you may read the headings only.

III. TABLETS OF CITRON-WOOD.

Had not our wood been cut into thin tablets, we should have been the noble burden of Libyan ivory.1

1 Had we not been tablets, we should have been tables, supported on ivory legs.

IV. TABLETS (WAXEN) OF FIVE LEAVES.

The joyous court of the emperor is warm with the slaughter of bullocks, when the decree which confers fresh honours on Casar is conveyed by the five-leaved (waxen) tablet.2

2  When the honour of a consulate or triumph is inscribed by the emperor on tablets of this kind, which are sent to the person on whom it is bestowed.

V. TABLETS OF IVORY.

If the dull-coloured waxen-tablets are too indistinct for your failing sight, let black letters be depicted on snow-white ivory.

VI. TABLETS OF THREE LEAVES.

You will think our three leaves no ordinary gift, when your mistress writes to you on them that she will come.

VII. TABLETS OF PARCHMENT.

Although these tablets are called parchment, imagine them of wax; you will be able to erase and replace the writing at pleasure.3

3  The parchment was covered with some chalky kind of substance which could be erased.

VIII. VITELLIAN TABLETS.

A maiden, though she may never have read Vitellian tablets, knows what they mean.

IX. THE SAME.

Because you see that we are very small, you imagine that we are love-letters. You are mistaken; we bear a demand for money.

X. LARGER TABLBTS.

When a poet presents you with blank leaves, you should consider it no small present.

XI. LETTER-PAPER.

Whether sent to a casual acquaintance, or to a dear friend, this paper is in the habit of calling everybody "my dear Sir."

XII. IVORY COFFERS.

It is improper to fill these coffers with any other coin than gold; let common wooden boxes hold silver.

XIII. WOODEN COFFERS. 

If there be anything still remaining at the bottom of my coffer, it shall be yours. There is nothing: then the coffer itself shall be yours.

XIV. IVORY TALI, OR DICE.1

When you see that no two of these dice present themselves to you with the same face, you will say that I have made you a great present.

1 See B. ii. Ep. 6.

XV. TESSERAE.

Although as a tessera I am unequal in number to the tali, yet the stake laid upon me is frequently greater.

2 On this and the following, see B. xiii. Ep. 1, and B. iv. Ep. 14.

XVI. A DICE BOX. 

The fraudulent hand, skilled in disposing dice to fall in a certain manner, will, if it throws them from me, succeed only in wishing.

XVII. A GAMING TABLE. 

Here dice, with their twice six spots, are counted; here the party-coloured man is captured by his double foe.1

1 One compartment of the table was adapted for throwing dice, the other for moving men, resembling chess-men or draughts-men, according to the throws of the dice. A man was taken when he was hemmed in between two of the adversary's men. See Smith's Dict. of Antiq. art. Calculus and Latrunculi.

XVIII. NUTS.

Nuts seem a small risk, and not likely to be attended with much loss; yet such risk has often robbed the young of honour.

XIX. A PEN-CASE.

As you have been lucky enough to gain a pen-case as your prize, remember to store it with pens. Having got the more expensive part for nothing, you can afford the less costly.

XX. THE GAME OF ROBBERS.2

If your game be the warfare of insidious robbers you have here in gems both your soldiers and your enemy.

2 The nature of this game is not exactly known; it is variously supposed to mean chess, draughts, or some kind of besieging game.

XXI. STYLUS-CASES.

These stylus-cases furnished with their own steel styluses are for you. If you give one of them to your boy, it will be no trifling present.

XXII. A. TOOTH-PICK.

A piece of Lentisc wood is best; but if that is unattainable, a quill may relieve your teeth.

XXIII. AN EAR-PICK. 

I offer you an instrument to allay the tickling of your ear, when it annoys you with troublesome irritation.

XXIV. A GOLDEN HAIR-PIN.

That your oiled tresses may not injure your splendid silk dress, let this pin fix your twisted hair, and keep it up.

XXV. COMBS. 

Of what use will be this piece of box-wood, cut into so many teeth, and now presented to you, seeing that you have no hair?

XXVI. POMATUM.

My caustic influence reddens the hair of the Germans: by my aid you may surpass your slave's tresses.

XXVII. MATTIAC BALLS.1

If you desire, Octogenarian, to change the colour of your venerable hair, accent these Mattiac balls. But to what purpose, for you are bald?

1 So called from Mattium, a town of Germany, supposed by some to be the same with Marpurg. They were some kind of composition for dyeing the hair.

XXVIII. A PARASOL.

Accept this protection against the excessive heat of the sun; and even against the wind it will serve you as a veil.

XXIX. A BROAD-BRIMMED HAT.

In Pompey's theatre I go as a spectator well hooded, the awning there being of little avail against the wind.

XXX. HUNTING-SPEARS.

They will receive rushing wild boars, and await lions; they will pierce bears, if the hand that directs them be sufficiently firm.

XXXI. A HUNTING-KNIFE.

If you mourn over your hunting-spear, struck down by the boar's long tusk, this short weapon will oppose the huge animal in close encounter.

XXXII. A SWORD AND BELT.

This is a military decoration, an honourable testimony; a weapon worthy to gird on the side of a tribune. 

XXXIII. A DAGGER.

This dagger, marked with serpentine veins, Salo,1 while it was hissing with heat, tempered with ice-cold water.

1 A river in Spain. See B. i. Ep. 50.

XXXIV. A SCYTHE.

The settled peace of our Emperor has bent me to unwarlike uses; now I belong to the husbandman, formerly I belonged to the soldier.

XXXV. A HATCHET.

When a sad sale was made for the payment of debts, this hatchet was purchased for four hundred thousand sesterces.2

2 A vast sum; more than 3200 of our money. We are inclined to read quadraginta instead of quadringentis, a change which would reduce the price to 330.

XXXVI. BARBER'S INSTRUMENTS.

Some of these instruments are adapted for cutting the hair; one is useful for long nails, another for rough chins.

XXXVII. A BOOK-CASE.

If you do not give me well-bound books, they will admit the moth and devouring worms.

XXXVIII. BUNDLES OF REED-PENS.

The land of Egypt supplies you with reeds fit for writing on paper. With the reeds of other marshes you may thatch your roofs.

XXXIX. A NIGHT-LAMP.

I am a night-lamp, privy to the pleasures of the couch; do whatever you please, I shall be silent.

XL. A CANDLE.

Fortune has given you this servant of the lamp, which, by keeping awake, dispels darkness.

XLI. THE LAMP WITH SEVERAL BURNERS. 

Although I illumine whole banquets with my light, and have so many necks, I am called but one lamp.

XLII. A TAPER. 

This taper will provide you with light in the night, supposing your lamp should be stolen from your servant.

XLIII. A CORINTHIAN CANDELABRUM.

It was candles that gave us our old name; the lamp trimmed with oil was not known to our forefathers.

XLIV. A WOODEN CANDLESTICK.

You see that I am a piece of wood; unless you are careful of the flame, a great lamp will be made out of your candlestick.

XLV. A PAGANICA, OR BALL STUFFED WITH FEATHERS.

This ball, stuffed with feathers, difficult to manage, is not so soft as a bladder, nor so hard as an ordinary ball.

XLVI. THE BALL FOR PLAYING AT THE TRIGON, 
OR THREE-CORNERED GAME.

If you are skilful enough to strike me with rapid left-hand blows, I am yours. You are not sufficiently skilled, so, clown, return the ball.

XLVII. THE BLADDER FOOTBALL.

Retire to a distance, young men; tender age suits me; with the bladder it befits only boys and old men to play.

XLVIII. THE HARPASTA, OR SMALL HAND-BALL.

This the agile youth catches amid the dust of Antaeus,1 (though often) stretching his neck with fruitless efforts.

1 That is, the dust of the palaestra, or wrestling-ground, Antaeus having been famed for wrestling. The words in brackets are supplied, being apparently required to complete the sense.

XLIX. DUMB-BELLS.

Why do strong arms fatigue themselves with frivolous dumb-bells? To dig a vineyard is a worthier exercise for men.

L. A LEATHER CAP.

To prevent the wrestler's unclean oil from defiling your sleek locks, you may protect your perfumed hair with this leathern covering.

LI. STRIGILS, FOR SCRAPING THE SKIN IN THE BATH.

Pergamus sent these; scrape yourself with the curved iron, and the scourer will not so often have to cleanse your linen.

LII. A COMMON HORN OIL-FLASK.

A young bull lately bore me upon his forehead; you might think me a real rhinoceros' horn.

LIII. AN OIL-FLASK OF RHINOCEROS' HORN.

This horn, which was recently seen in the Ausonian arena of the Emperor, and to which a bull was but as a ball, is for you.1

1 See Spectac. Ep. 9.

LIV. A CHILD'S RATTLE.

If a little boy hangs crying upon your neck, let him shake, with his tender hand, this noisy rattle.

LV. A HORSE-WHIP.

If the horse which you are running is of the purple faction,2 you will make nothing of him, however much you flog him with this whip.

2 The same is said of those of the blue faction, B. vi. Ep. 46.

LVI. TOOTH POWDER.

What have I to do with you? Let the fair and young use me. I am not accustomed to polish false teeth.

LVII. MYROBALANUM.

This, which is mentioned neither by Virgil nor by Homer, in all their verses, is made up of unguent and nut-balsam.

LVIII. APHRONITRUM, OR SALT-PETRE.

Are you a Rustic? Then you do not know what I am called in Greek I am called the scum of nitre. Are you a Greek? I am Aphronitron.

LIX. BALMS.

Balm delights me; it is the perfume for men. You matrons, scent yourselves with the essences of Cosmus.

LX. BEAN-FLOUR.

This will be an acceptable present, and not without its use to a wrinkled body, when exposed in broad daylight at the baths of Stephanus.

LXI. A HORN-LANTERN.

I am a lantern, a guide for the way, and shine like gold when the flame is sheltered and the little lamp safe in my embrace.

LXII. A LANTERN MADE OF A BLADDER.

If I am not of horn, am I the less transparent? Will any one who meets me think me a bladder?

LXIII. A REED PIPE.

Why do you smile at my form, composed of wax and reeds? The first shepherd's pipe was such as I am.

LXIV. PIPES. 

The drunken female-piper bursts our ears with her inflated cheeks; she sometimes blows two pipes at once;1 sometimes only one.

1 Pipers often played on two pipes at once, called tibia dextrae et sinistrae, "right and left-handed pipes." See a full description of them in Colman's Preface to his Terence.

LXV. WOOLLEN SLIPPERS.

If your servant should happen to be absent, and you wish to get your sandals, these will enable your feet to serve themselves.

LXVI. A CORSET.

You might be able to confine your breast within a bull's hide; but what you use is too small for the purpose.

LXVII. A FLY-FLAP OF PEACOCK'S FEATHERS.

That which prevents disagreeable flies from feeding on your repast, was once the proud tail of a splendid bird.

LXVIII. RHODIAN BISCUIT.

If your slave commits a fault, do not smash his teeth with your fist; give him some of the (hard) biscuit which famous Rhodes has sent you.

LXIX. A PRIAPUS MADE OF PASTRY.

If you wish to appease your hunger, you may eat this Priapus of ours; even though you consume every part of it, you will not be the less pure.

LXX. A PIG.

The pig fed on acorns among foaming wild boars, will afford you a merry saturnalia.

LXXI. A CLOTHES-BRUSH OF OX-TAIL.

If your dress has been soiled with yellow dust, brush it off with gentle strokes of this bushy tail.

LXXII. A SAUSAGE.

The sausage which comes to you in mid-winter, came to me before the seven days of the Saturnalia.

LXXIII. A PARROT.

I, a parrot, am taught by you the names of others; I have learned of myself to say, " Hail! Caesar!"

LXXIV. A RAVEN.

[Not translated either in the Bohn or the Ker Loeb]

LXXV. A NIGHTINGALE.

Philomela bewails the crime of the incestuous Tereus; and she who was dumb as a maiden, is celebrated for her song as a bird.

LXXVI. A MAGPIE.

I, a talking magpie, salute you as my master with distinct voice; if you did not see me, you would not believe me to be a bird.

LXXVII. AN IVORY CAGE.

If you ever possess such a bird as Lesbia, the beloved of Catullus, bewailed, it may dwell here.

LXXVIII. A MEDICINE-CHEST.

Here you have an ivory medicine-chest, filled with the appliances of the healing art; a present such as even Paccius1 might have coveted.

1 Some physician, probably.

LXXIX. WHIPS.

Play, sportive slaves; but only play.2 These whips of mine shall be locked up for five days.3

2 Do no mischief.
3 In Ep. 72 the Saturnalia are said to last seven days; five was the prescribed number, but two were usually added.

LXXX. CANES.

Hated exceedingly by children, and dear to schoolmasters, we are the wood ennobled by the gift of Prometheus.1

1 Prometheus stole fire from heaven in a hollow cane or reed.

LXXXI. A WALLET. 

This wallet entreats that it may not be obliged to carry the beggarly food of a long-bearded, half-clad philosopher, or serve as pillow to his mangy dog.

LXXXII. BROOMS.

Brooms were once held in esteem, as our palm trees testify;2 but now the slaves have forsaken brooms, and pick up crumbs.

2  Brooms were anciently made from the palm-tree.

LXXXIII. A BACK-STRATCHER, IN THE SHAPE OF A HAND.

This hand will protect your shoulders from the bite of the troublesome flea, or from other things more offensive than a flea.

LXXXIV. A WOODEN BOOK-COVERING.

These fir covers will long preserve your manuscripts, and protect them against the friction of your toga and cloak.3

3  Compare B. i. Ep. 67.

LXXXV. A COUCH MADE OF CITRON-WOOD, 
CALLED "PEACOCK-TAILED."

This couch derives its name from the bird adorned with painted feathers; which is now the attendant of Juno, but was formerly Argus.4

4  The hundred-eyed Argus was changed into a peacock.

LXXXVI. A SADDLE.

Huntsman, accept this saddle for your swift-footed steed, for a horse ridden bare-backed is apt to cause a painful disease.

LXXXVII. A DINNER COUCH.

Accept a semicircular couch decorated with crescents of tortoise-shell. It will hold eight. Whoever is a friend, left him take a seat on it.

LXXXVIII. A DINNER-TABLE ORNAMENTED WITH 
THE BEST TORTOISE-SHELL.

If you imagine that I am adorned with female land-tortoise shell, you are mistaken; I bear the male offspring of the sea.

LXXXIX. A CITRON-WOOD TABLE.

Accept a present of rich wood from the forests of Atlas. Whoever makes a present of gold (of equal weight), will give less.

XC. A MAPLE-WOOD TABLE.

I am not veined, it is true; nor am I the offspring of an African forest; yet even my wood is no stranger to sumptuous feasts.

XCI. IVORY TUSKS.

Do you question whether tusks which toss in air the vast bodies or bulls, can support tables of African wood?

1 See Spectac. Ep. 17 and 19.

XCII. A FIVE-FEET RULE.

This piece of oak, marked with spots, and tipped with a sharp point, frequently exposes the fraudulent dealings of the contractor.

XCIII. ANTIQUE VASES.

This is no recent masterpiece, nor the work of an artificer of our day; Mentor, who made these cups, was the first to drink out of them.

XCIV. COMMON CUPS.

Though we plebeian cups are not made of decorative glass, our stone ware is not cracked by boiling water.

XCV. A CHASED GOLD CUP.

Although I am formed of the most beautiful and ruddy Callaic gold,2 I glory far more in my workmanship; for it is that of Mys.

2 See B. v. Ep. *.

XCVI. A VATINIAN CUP.1

Accept this humble cup, a memorial of the cobbler Vatinius; it is not so big as his nose.

1 So called because the fashion of it was invented by Vatinius, a shoemaker of Beneventum; or because it was shaped like his nose.

XCVII. DISHES INLAID WITH GOLD. 

Do not dishonour such large gold dishes with an insignificant mullet; it ought, at least, to weigh two pounds.

XCVIII. ARRETINE VASES.

We warn you not to look with too much contempt on Arretine vases; Porsena's splendid service was of Etruscan pottery.

2  From Arretium, a town of Etruria, now Arezzo.

XCIX. A BASKET.3

I, a barbarian basket, came from the painted Britons; but now Rome claims me for her own.

3  The word "basket" is supposed to be derived from Bascauda. See Johnson's Dictionary.

C. PANACIAN VESSELS.

If you have visited the country of the learned Catullus, you have drunk Rhaetian wine from my earthenware.

CI. BOLETARIA, A COOKING VESSEL.

Though mushrooms (boleti) have given me so noble a name, I am used, I am ashamed to say it, for cabbages.

CII. SURRENTINE CUPS.

Accept these cups formed of no common clay, but the polished work of a Surrentine potter's wheel.

CIII. A SNOW-STRAINER.

Temper your cups of Setine wine, I advise you, with snow put into me. You may use linen strainers for inferior wines.

CIV. A SNOW-BAG. 

Our coarse linen, too, will clarify snow-water, which does not gush any colder from your fine strainer.

CV. WATER-JUGS FOR THE TABLE.

Let cold water not be wanting, and the warm will be at command; never trifle with craving thirst.

CVI. AN EARTHEN PITCHER. 

Here is presented to you a red pitcher with twisted handle; the Stoic Fronto 1 used to fetch his water in this vessel.

1 Perhaps he who is mentioned B. i. Ep. 56.

CVII. WINE CUPS. 

The Satyr loves us; Bacchus loves us; and so too the intoxicated tigress, whom we have taught to lick the feet of her master.

CVIII. SAGUNTINE CUPS.

Accept these cups, fashioned of Saguntine clay, which your servant may take and handle without anxiety.

CIX. JEWELLED CUPS.

See how the gold, begemmed with Scythian emeralds, glistens! How many fingers does this cup deprive of jewels!2

2  Ancient gold as well as crystal cups and vases, inlaid with jewels, especially emeralds and rubies, are still found in some cabinets.

CX. AN AMPULLA, OR DRINKING FLASK.

Here is a gemmed cup, which bears the name of Cosmus;3 drink, luxurious man, if you thirst for perfumed wines.4

3  The perfumer often mentioned before.
4 It was a practice of the luxurious, in the time of Martial, to mix spikenard, myrrh, and other perfumes, with their wine. See Plin. H. N. 13.

CXI. CRYSTAL CUPS.

You break crystal cups in your anxiety to avoid breaking them; hands too careless, and too anxious, are equally destructive.

CXII. A NIMBUS OF GLASS.  

The nimus that comes from Jupiter will supply you with abundance of water to mix with your wine; this nimbus will give you wine itself.1

1 Nimbus means a "storm," or "storm-cloud." The point lies is the word also meaning a wine-vessel, probably so called from its dark colour.

CXIII. MYRRHINE CUPS.

If you drink your wine warm, a Myrrhine cup is best for hot Falernian; and the flavour of the wine is improved by it

CXIV. A CUMAEAN PLATE. 

This plate of red Cumaean earth is sent you by the chaste Sibyl. It is a native of the same place with herself.

CXV. GLASS CUPS.

Behold the talent of the Nile. Alas! how often has the workman, while wishing to give additional ornament to his work, destroyed it!

CXVI. A DECANTER FOR SNOW-WATER.

You drink Spoletine wine, or that which has been stored in Marsian cellars. Of what use to you is the noble luxury of iced water?

CXVII. SNOW.

To drink not snow, but water iced with snow, is the device of ingenious thirst.

CXVIII. THE SAME.

Do not, my slave, mix the smoky wine of Marseilles with iced water, lest the water cost you more than the wine.

CXIX. AN EARTHEN UTENSIL.

When I have been called for by a snap of my master's fingers, and the attendant has loitered, oh how often has the cushion been my rival!

CXX. A SILVER LIGULE, OR SMALL LADLE.

Though knights and senators call me ligula, I am called lingula by ignorant grammarians.1

1 The word is a diminutive from lingua, "a tongue;" but ligula became the prevalent form of it

CXXI. A COCHLEARE 2 (SPOON).

I am suitable for shell-fish, but not less so for eggs. Pray can you tell why the one has given me a name rather than the other?

2  Cochleare, from cochlea, a shell, on account of its shape. Our old tea-caddy spoons were often shaped like a cockle-shell.

CXXII. RINGS.

In old times we were frequently, but now we are rarely, presented to a friend. Happy the man who has for a friend a knight whose fortune he has made! 3

3  In ancient times patrons often presented their clients with a sum of money to enable them to purchase the equestrian dignity, and wear the ring of the order.

CXXIII. A RING-CASE.

Often does the heavy ring slip off the anointed fingers; but if you confide your jewel to me, it will be safe.

CXXIV. A TOGA.

He who gave the skies to his illustrious sire,4 made the toga-clad Romans lords of the world.

4 Domitian, who deified Vespasian, and built a temple to the Flavian family.

CXXV. THE SAME.

If you can reconcile yourself to give up your morning sleep, you may, by wearing out this toga, obtain a sportula.

CXXVI. A WARM CLOAK.

This is a poor man's gift, but not often a poor man's wear. We send you this cloak in place of a mantle.

CXXVII. A BROWN CLOAK OF CANUSIAN WOOL.5

This Canusian cloak, in colour extremely like must, shall be our gift to you. Rejoice! it will not soon wear out.

5  From Canusia in Apulia.

CXXVIII. A GALLIC HOOD.

Gaul clothes you with its Santonic1 hood: it was but recently that it clothed a monkey.2

1 From the Santoses, a people of Gaul.
2 It resembled the short coat sometimes put on monkeys.

CXXIX. RED CLOAKS OF CANUSIAN WOOL. 

Rome more willingly wears brown cloaks; Gaul prefers red, a colour which pleases children and soldiers.

CXXX. A LEATHERN CLOAK.

Although you begin your journey on the finest of days let this leathern cloak be always at hand against sudden showers.

CXXXI. A SCARLET COAT.

If you belong to the blue or the green faction, why put on scarlet? Be careful, lest by that proceeding you be reckoned a deserter.

CXXXII. A CAP.

If I could, I should have been glad to send you a whole suit; as it is I send you only a covering for your head.

CXXXIII. BAETIC CLOAKS.

My wool is not deceitful, nor do I change my colour in the dying vat. Tyrian wool may please by such means; my colour is that of the sheep I clothed.

CXXXIV. A BREAST-BAND.

Breast-band! confine the swelling bosom of my mistress, that I may be able to cover and press it with my hand.

CXXXV. A DINNER DRESS.

No law courts or bail cases are known to me. My duty is to recline on embroidered couches.

CXXXVI. A WOOLLEN CLOAK.

Fine smooth garments are of little use in winter. My shaggy covering will impart warmth to your under-dress.

CXXXVII. WHITE WOOLLEN CLOAKS. 

We recommend ourselves for service in the amphitheatre when our white covering encompasses the chilly toga.

CXXXVIII. A TABLE-COVER.

Let this woollen cloth protect your splendid citron table. On mine a dish may be placed without doing any harm.

CXXXIX. A LIBURNIAN HOOD.

You did not know, simpleton, how to suit your cloak to me. You put on a white cloak; you have to take off a green one.1

1 A portion of the wool of the hood, which fell down over the upper part of the white cloak, adhered to it, and gave it something of a green hue.

CXL. CILICIAN SOCKS.

These are not formed of wool, but of the beard of the fetid goat.2 You may bury your foot in this hairy covering.

2  From Cinyps, a river in Africa, on the banks of which goats abounded.

CXLI. A SYNTHESIS, OR FESTAL ROBE.

While your toga enjoys a rest of five days,3 you may, if you please, make use of this vestment.

3  The five days of the Saturnalia, during which the synthesis was worn instead of the toga. See Ep. 72, 79, etc.

CXLII. A MUFFLER.

If with the intention of reciting, I happen to present to you a little book, let this muffler defend your ears.

CXLIII. PATAVIAN WOOLLEN SHIRTS.

The Patavian triple tissue is composed of many fleeces; it is only a saw that can cut these thick shirts.

CXLIV. A SPONGE.

Chance has given you this sponge, useful for wiping tables, when it is slightly distended with the water which it imbibes.

CXLV. A CLOAK OF LONG HAIR.

Such is my whiteness, such the beauty of my long hair, that you would like to wear me even in the midst of harvest.

CXLVI. A PILLOW.

Rub your hair with the nard of Cosmus, and your pillow will smell of it. When your hair has lost the perfume, the pillow retains it

CXLVII. LONG-HAIRED COVERLETS.

Your woolly coverlet is radiant with purple trimmings; but what avails that, if an old wife freezes you?

CXLVIII. A PAIR OF BLANKETS.

Lest the mattress should be too plainly seen on your scantily-covered couch, we two sisters come to your aid.

CXLIX. A TUCKER.

I fear those whose development is large: give me to some tender maiden, that the linen of which I am formed may delight in her snow-white charms.

CL. AN ORNAMENTED COVERLET.

The land of Memphis makes you this present. The Babylonian needle is now surpassed by the loom of the Nile.

CLI. A WOMAN'S GIRDLE.

At present I am long enough; but if you should swell with an agreeable burden, I should then prove too short for you.

CLII. A SQUARE RUG.

The land of the learned Catullus1 will supply you with blankets. We are from the region of Helicaon.2

1 Verona.
2 From Patavium, founded by Helicaon, the son of Antenor. B. x. Ep. 93

CLIII. AN APRON.

Let the rich man give you a tunic; I can only give you an apron. If I were a rich man, I would give you both.

CLIV. AMETHYST-COLOURED WOOLS.

Since I am drunk with the blood of the Sidonian shell-fish, I do not see why I should be called a sober wool.3

3 An allusion to the derivation of amethystus, from α and μεθύω, because it was supposed to have the power of preventing intoxication.

CLV. WHITE WOOL.

Apulia is noted for fleeces of the first quality; Parma for those of the second. The sheep whose wool is of the third quality distinguishes Altinum.

CLVI. TYRIAN WOOL.

I was the present of the shepherd-prince to his Spartan mistress. Her mother Leda's purple robe was inferior to me.

CLVII. POLLENTINE WOOL.

The territory of Pollentia is accustomed to give us, not only wool of a dark colour, but also cups.

CLVIII. THE SAME.

I am, it is true, a sad-coloured wool; but suitable for shorn attendants,2 such as are not required for the higher offices of the table.

2  The better class of slaves wore their hair long; the inferior sort had it cut close. Comp. B. viii. Ep. 51.

CLIX. MATTRESS-STUFFINGS OF LEUCONIUM.

Is the sacking3 uncomfortably close to your pillow? Take this wool plucked from Leuconian4 blankets.

3   Fascia, Some strap by which the pillow was buckled to the couch.
4  From the Leuci, or Leucones, a people of Gaul.

CLX. CIRCUS STUFFING.

The marsh-reed, when cut up, is called circus-stuffing, and is what the poor man buys instead of Leuconian stuffing.

CLXI. FEATHERS.

When fatigued, you may recline upon Amyclaean feathers, which the swan's inner coat provides for you.

CLXII. HAY.

Let your fragile bed be stuffed with hay filched from the mules. Pale care does not visit hard couches.

CLXIII. A BATH BELL.

Give up (playing with) the ball: the bell of the warm baths rings. Do you continue your game? You wish, then, for a cold bath before you return home.1

1 The warm baths, in which it was usual to bathe after playing at ball were closed at a certain time; those who did not go to them before they were closed might bathe in cold water. See B. v. Ep. 21; B. vi. Ep. 41.

CLXIV. A QUOIT. 

When the shining Spartan quoit is flying through the air, keep at a distance, children. Let it not be fatal more than it once was.2

2 Alluding to the case of Hyacinthus, killed accidentally by Phoebus.

CLXV. A LYRE. 

The lyre restored Eurydice to her bard (Orpheus); but he lost her again by his want of self-control and his too impatient love.

CLXVI. THE SAME.

The lyre, which attracted woods and detained wild beasts, has often been ejected from the theatre of Pompey.3

3 By the populace, who sometimes drove the musicians off the stage. See Spectac Ep. 21. 

CLXVII. A QUILL FOR THE LYRE.

That an inflamed blister may not rise upon your chafed thumb, let this white quill elicit the sound or the gentle lyre.

CLXVIII. A. HOOP.

A wheel must be protected (with a tyre). You make me a useful present. It will be a hoop to children, but to me a tyre for my wheel

CLXIX. THE SAME.

Why do these jingling rings4 move about upon the rolling wheel? In order that the passers-by may get out of the way of the hoop.

4 Small rings were attached to boys' hoops to make a jingling noise.

CLXX. A GOLDEN STATUS OF VICTORY.

Victory is here presented, without the intervention of hazard, to him to whom the Rhine gave a true name.1 Slave, pour out ten cups of Falernian.2

1 To Domitian, surnamed Germanicus.
2 Answering to the ten letters in the name of Germanicus. B. i. Ep. 72

CLXXI. A SMALL STATUE OF BRUTUS'S FAVOURITE.

Little as is this statuette, its glory is by no means inconsiderable. Brutus set his affection on this boy.

CLXXII. THE CORINTHIAN LIZARD-SLAYER.

Spare, treacherous child, the lizard which is crawling towards you. It is eager to perish by your hands.

CLXXIII. A PICTURE OF HYACINTHUS.

The young grandson of Oebalus, at once the shame and the regret of Phoebus, turns his dying eyes from the cruel disc.3

3 See Ep. 164.

CLXXIV. A MARBLE HERMAPHRODITE.

He entered the water a male;4 he left it both male and female. In one feature only does he resemble his father;5 in every other his mother.6

4 The fountain of Salmacis. See Ovid's Metam. B. iv. 
5 Mercury.
6 Venus.

CLXXV. A PICTURE OF DANAE.

Why, O ruler of Olympus, did Danae receive pay from you, if Leda granted you her favours for nothing?

CLXXVI. A GERMAN MASK.

I am the fancy of the potter, the mask of a red-haired Batavian. This countenance, at which you smile, is an object of terror to children.

CLXXVII. THE CORINTHIAN HERCULES.

The infant crushes the two snakes without turning his eyes from them. Already might the hydra have dreaded the tender hands.

CLXXVIII. A TERRA-COTTA HERCULES.

I am fragile; but do not, I warn you, despise my statuette. Alcides blushes not to bear my name.

CLXXIX. MINERVA IN SILVER.

Tell me, fierce maiden-goddess, why, since you have a helmet and a spear, you have not also an Aegis? "Caesar has it."

CLXXX. EUROPA.

The time, excellent father of the gods, when you might best have changed yourself into a bull, was when your Io was a cow.

CLXXXI. THE MARBLE LEANDER.

The daring Leander exclaimed amid the swelling waters: "Drown me, you waves, when I am on my return."

CLXXXII. A TERRA-COTTA FIGURE OF A HUNCHBACK.

Prometheus, I should think, was drunk when he gave such a monster to earth. Even he amused himself with Saturnalian clay.1

1 He had his Saturnalia as well as we.

CLXXXIII. HOMER'S "BATTLE OF THE FROGS AND MICE."

Read of the frogs, sung by the bard of Maeonia, and learn to relax your brow with such pleasantries as mine

CLXXXIV. A PARCHMENT COPY OF HOMER.

The Iliad, and the story of Ulysses, hostile to the kingdom of Priam, lie deposited in these many folds of skin.

CLXXXV. VIRGIL'S "GNAT."

Receive, studious reader, the "Gnat" of the eloquent Virgil, and do not entirely reject drolleries to read "Arma virumque cano."

CLXXXVI. VIRGIL ON PARCHMENT, WITH PORTRAIT.

How small a quantity of parchment holds the great Maro. His portrait ornaments the first page.

CLXXXVII. MENANDER'S "THAIS." 

In this character did he first satirise the free loves of young men. It was not Glycere, but Thais, that was his mistress in youth.

CLXXXVIII. CICERO ON PARCHMENT.

If this parchment be your companion on a long journey, you may imagine that you are travelling with Cicero.

CLXXXIX. A COPY OF PROPERTIUS.

Cynthia, theme of the youthful muse of the eloquent Propertius, has not received more fame from him than she has given in return.

CXC. LIVY IN A SINGLE VOLUME.

The voluminous Livy, of whom my bookcase would once scarcely have contained the whole, is now comprised in this small parchment volume.

CXCI. SALLUST.

Sallust, according to the judgment of the learned, will rank as the prince of Roman historiographers.

CXCII. OVID'S METAMORPHOSES ON PARCHMENT. 

This mass, which, as you see, consists of a great number of leaves, contains fifteen books of the verses of Naso.

CXCIII. TIBULLUS.

The playful Nemesis consumed with love the amorous Tibullus, whom it delighted to be a cipher in his own house.

CXCIV. LUCAN.

There are some who say that I am not a poet; but the bookseller, who sells me, thinks that I am.

CXCV. CATULLUS.

Great Verona owes as much to her Catullus, as little Mantua owea to her Virgil.

CXCVI. CALVUS' POEM ON WARM AND COLD SPRINGS. 

This paper, which tells you of the virtues and names of water, deserves to be set afloat on the waters it describes.

CXCVII. DWARF MULES.

From these mules you need not fear a fall; you often sit higher on the ground.

CXCVIII. A GALLIC PUPPY.

If you wish to hear all the pretty tricks of the little puppy, a whole page would not suffice for me to enumerate them.

CXCIX. A JENNET. 

This small horse, who picks up his swift hoofs in such regular time, is an Asturian, and comes from the gold-producing regions.

CC. THE GREYHOUND.

The active greyhound hunts not for himself but for his master, and will bring you the have unhurt in his teeth.

CCI. THE WRESTLER. 

I do not like him for conquering, but for knowing how to succumb, and still more for having learned the art of retrieving himself.

CCII. THE APE. 

I am an ape, cunning in avoiding the darts hurled at me. Had I a tail, I should be a cercopithecus.1

1 A tailed monkey.

CCIII. A FEMALE DANCER OF CADIZ.

[Not translated in either the Bohn or Ker Loeb editions]

CCIV. CYMBALS.

The brazen instruments, which lament the love of the Phrygian mother,2 are often sold by her hungry priest.

2 Cybele.

CCV. THE FAVOURITE.

Mine be a favourite whose delicate skin is due to tender youth, and not to art; for whose sake no maiden may be pleasing in my eyes.

CCVI. THE CESTUS. 

Bind upon your neck, child, this cestus, which is love itself warm from the bosom of Venus.

CCVII. THE SAME. 

Take this cestus, steeped in the nectar of Cytherea; a cincture which kindled love in Jupiter.

CCVIII. A SHORT-HAND WRITER.

Though your words run swiftly, the hand is swifter still. The hand has recorded before the tongue has uttered. 

The swifter hand doth the swift words out-run: 
Before the tongue hath spoke the hand hath done.
                                                               Wright.

CCIX. A SHELL. 

Let the Egyptian papyrus be made smooth by the marine shell; and the pen will then speed along without interruption.

CCX. THE BUFFOON.

His folly is not feigned, or assumed by cunning art. Whoever is not more than wise enough, is wise. 

A modest folly may for wisdom go; 
And he's less wise that would seem more than so. 
                                                            Wright.

CCXI. A SHEEP'S HEAD. 

You have cut the soft neck of the Phrixean husband of the flock.1 Did he, who gave you your clothing, cruel man, deserve this?

1 A ram such as that which carried Phrixus.

CCXII. A DWARF. 

If you look only at the head of the man, you might fancy him to be Hector; if you see him on his legs, you would think him Astyanax.

CCXIII. A SMALL SHIELD.

This, which is wont often to be beaten,2 but rarely to beat, will be a small shield to you, but would be a large one for a dwarf.

2 Because the gladiators, called parmularii, or shield-bearers, were discouraged by Domitian.

CCXIV. YOUNG COMEDIANS.

No-one in that troop will be the Μισούμένοσ (hated one) ; but every one is ready to be Δὶς ἐξαπατῶν (the double deceiver).3

3 The names of two of Menander's comedies.

CCXV. A CLASP.

Tell me, clasp, frankly, of what advantage are you to actresses and lute-players? To enhance their favours.

CCXVI. A HAWK.

He used to prey upon birds; now he is the servant of the bird-catcher, and deceives birds, repining that they are not caught for himself.

CCXVII. A CATERER.

Tell me how many there are of you, and at what price you wish to dine. Not a word more; dinner is ready for you.

CCXVIII. RODS FOR BIRD-CATCHING. 

The bird is deceived, not by the rods only, but also by the song, while the reed1 is stealthily stretched out by the concealed hand.

1 A reed covered with bird-lime.

CCXIX. A BULLOCK'S HEART. 

As you, a poor lawyer, write verses that bring you no profit, accept a heart similar to your own.

CCXX. THE COOK.

Art alone is not enough for a cook. I do not like my palate to be his slave; the cook should have the taste of his master.

CCXXI. A GRIDIRON AND SPIT.

Let your slim gridiron be greased with the crescent-shaped steak. Let the foaming boar smoke upon the long spit.

CCXXII. THE CONFECTIONER.

That hand will construct for you a thousand sweet figures of art; for it the frugal bee principally labours.

CCXXIII. RICH BREAKFASTS.

Rise; the baker is already selling breakfasts to the children; and the crested birds of dawn are crowing on all sides.


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