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.

50. Miniatures -

My puny epigrams befit,
So you declare, my puny wit;
I am too stupid I admit
To wade like you in blood

Through twelve long books — my genius sets
T'wards finished marble statuettes,
The while your lofty soul begets
A giant built of mud.

48. To Garricus -

A QUARTER of your goods you vowed to leave me,
And swore by all the gods you'd not deceive me;
I thought you speaking truly when you said it, —
For who would doubt what he desires to credit? —
So sent you gifts to foster your intentions;
Amongst them was a boar of huge dimensions
Like Meleager's. Half the town you fêted
Till even greediest epicures were sated;
Yet — who'd believe it? — I was not invited,
No scraps of ribs or tail my gift requited;
If not one single ounce of pig I merit,

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.

42. For Stella, that He May Gain the Consulship -

For ever may Myrina's wealth be thine,
Phoebus, and swan-song give thee joy divine,
The Muses do thy will in loyal truth,
Thy Pythian priestess ever say thy sooth,
And may the Palace — glory far above
These lesser joys — still worship thee and love,
If thou wilt ask and Caesar grant thy plea,
The fasces for my Stella; then to thee
Will I, thy debtor, build an altar fair
With rustic greenery, and offer there
A yearling steer bedecked with gilded horn;
Delay no more, he is already born.

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.

37. To Galla -

Whilst in your room you deck your beauty bright,
Next door the coiffeur braids your lovely hair,
Your frocks and teeth are laid away at night,
So portioned out in boxes here and there
You lie, and your complexion sleeps elsewhere;
Beneath a brow, remodelled day by day,
Your eye still ogles men. Be reverent, pray,
Nor hawk about each prehistoric charm:
Though love is dull and dim of sight they say,
He sees you well enough to take alarm.

35. The Newsmonger -

These are the tricks that you devise to pay for hospitality,
You forge a hundred silly lies and state them as reality,
You know King Ferdinand's design discussed in far Bulgaria,
And what reserves are on the Rhine, their numbers in Bavaria,
Haig's last dispatches you have conned while still undried the ink of them,
You see the victor laurels donned before the soldiers think of them.
You tell the Tigris' rise in feet, and what the flood has meant to us.
How many pounds of maize or meat America has sent to us.

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."


Subscribe to RSS - English