52. To Quintus Ovidius on His Birthday -

I LOVE you, Quintus, and revere your birthday, holding it as dear,
Aye dearer than mine own;
And if both March and April are marked in love's loyal calendar
With pearls and precious stone,
Your April I must rank above my March because one gave me love,
The other life alone.

46. The Miser's Excuse -

What is the use of Gellius saying
That he is building when he's laying
Door-mats or fitting keys and latches
Or changing window-panes and catches?
Can any reason lie behind it?
Ask for a loan and you will find it;
It is the best of all excuses;
To say " I'm building" has its uses.

44. On the Same -

You know the Hercules that Vindex bought,
So fair is he that once I asked the god
Whose chisel, thus inspired, the statue wrought;
He laughed — that is his wont — and with a nod
Towards the base; " Knowst thou not Greek?" says he,
" And thou a bard? His name yon letters tell!"
They said " Lysippus" or my thought should be
That none but Pheidias could have wrought so well.

39. On Caesonia's Birthday -

Rhea , thou shouldst have chosen for thy son
This day that saw our lord of Thunder's birth
And sweet Caesonia's. In all the earth
Is none that owes her mother more and none
More glad than he, her Sire, to bless the morn
Whereon his Caesar and his child were born.

34. On Domitian's Temple -

The King of Gods beheld our Flavian shrine
And mocked his own on Ida for a cheat;
Deep were the cups he quaffed of nectar sweet,
Ere for Rome's patron, Mars, he poured the wine.
Phoebus and Dian there he saw recline
By Hercules and duteous Mercury,
And said, " Ye built my fane of old in Crete;
But Caesar is more dutiful than ye."

30. On the Death of Rusticus -

Foul Asian coast, his life hast thou betrayed,
On thee by guilty waves his corpse was tossed.
Close in her breast his loving spouse conveyed
The sacred urn, too soon the seas were crossed,
Too soon those ashes in the earth she laid,
And seemed twice widowed of a love twice lost.

29. On an Old Woman's Grave -

Death snatched you away before your day and took you to Lethe's shore,
You could beat old Parr, but Methuselah might give you a month or more.
What a voice to be dumb — it could overcome the market's or schoolroom's clatter,
A revivalist hymn, or the river's brim with a million cranes a-chatter.
There was none like you foul tricks to do, as a witch you have left no double:
Be your covering slight and of sand so light that the dogs may have little trouble.

21. Live Up to Your Name -

A RTEMIDORUS bought a pretty slave
And sold his lands to pay — the price was great —
But Calliodorus with the sum he gave
Became the master of the whole estate.
Who bears the name of Artemis should rate
Love at a price far meaner; and its charm,
To him that's called from beauty, prove a bait
Much more alluring than a dirty farm.

18. A Petition to the Emperor -

While Caesar reigns, long may my country cot
And tiny house in Rome be mine; but lo,
Yon straining pole doth bring my garden-plot
Its scanty waters from the vale below;
But here, though nigh at hand the fountains flow
No quickening drop doth slake my parching home;
One rill divine a bard would love to owe
To him, the Muses' lord, the God of Rome.


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